The Toronto Maple Leafs kept Kasperi Kapanen out of the lineup on Monday with what they deemed as an illness, but gave a more serious diagnosis today. Kapanen will be held out again tonight because of a concussion, sustained at some point during the game in Edmonton on Saturday night.
Kapanen, 22, has been a welcome addition to the Maple Leafs this season, recording 42 points in 68 games in his first real opportunity as a full-time NHL player. Originally selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins, he came to Toronto in the Phil Kessel deal several years ago and had only really found his way to the Maple Leafs roster late last year. The speedy winger has developed into an excellent counter-attack option that can make teams pay for turning the puck over, and is even used as a penalty killer by head coach Mike Babcock.
Losing him right now as the Maple Leafs attempt to track down the Boston Bruins in the standings isn’t a perfect scenario, but the team does have other options to take over Kapanen’s minutes. William Nylander has been promoted to the wing of Auston Matthews while young forward Trevor Moore will likely see regular time on the fourth line. There is currently no timetable for Kapanen’s return, but his penchant for scoring timely goals will certainly be needed if the Maple Leafs are expecting to do any damage in the playoffs this year.