It’s brutal timing for the 26-year-old, as Kapanen had just started to find a consistent level of play. Through healthy scratches, benchings, and demotions, he has 17 points in 35 games so far. While only one of those points had come in his last seven appearances, there were some encouraging signs that he could fit into a bottom-six role for the rest of the season.
Now, with a weeks-long injury, he’s back to square one. The Penguins gave Kapanen a two-year, $6.4MM contract in the offseason when many wondered whether he would even get a qualifying offer. The deal now looks like one of the worst on the team, with Pittsburgh desperate for cap space to make a deadline addition.
An injury of this length could be a worst-case scenario. It might not be long enough to justify long-term injured reserve (and even if it is, they’ll have to keep room open for his activation), but keeps him off the active roster as the deadline approaches.