It was a tough year for Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen. He had just 11 goals in 79 games and managed just two more points than he had in 2020-21 despite playing in 39 fewer contests. However, Dave Molinari of Pittsburgh Hockey Now posits that the 25-year-old may have done enough in the playoffs to convince management to give him one more chance instead of non-tendering him this summer. Kapanen is owed a $3.2MM qualifying offer and also has arbitration eligibility which complicates things as he’s unlikely to be awarded a deal that’s above the walkaway threshold. Molinari suggests Pittsburgh try to offer him a deal with a reduced salary in the hopes that Kapanen opts for that over testing the open market with a non-tender in July. If they can’t agree on a new deal, GM Ron Hextall is going to have a big decision on his hands on whether or not to qualify him.
Elsewhere around the NHL:
- The Blackhawks don’t have a first-round pick this year with theirs going to Columbus as part of the Seth Jones trade but GM Kyle Davidson told NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis that acquiring a first-round is “something I’m definitely interested in”. Chicago has committed to a rebuilding process but their challenge might be finding a player they’re willing to trade that is talented enough to command that strong of a return. Brandon Hagel went for two first-rounders at the trade deadline but those are in the 2023 and 2024 drafts.
- Tampa Bay has ruled out Brayden Point for Sunday’s game against Florida, relays Joe Smith of The Athletic (Twitter link). The center has yet to play in the second round after suffering a lower-body injury in the final game of their series against Toronto. Despite missing their top pivot, the Lightning find themselves in good shape with a 2-0 series lead heading into back-to-back games at home on Sunday and Monday.