Official now, Kasperi Kapanen and Josh Archibald have been activated from injured reserve. To make room on the roster, Tristan Jarry has been moved to IR – though that doesn’t necessarily mean his status has changed. Jarry was on the ice this morning, and his placement was retroactive to January 22, so he will be eligible to return as soon as he is healthy.
It’s been a forgettable season for Kapanen, with just six goals through 35 appearances. He’s been scratched, demoted, and overlooked for much of the year, thanks to an inconsistent game that just won’t go away.
A brilliant skater with the size, strength, and puck skills to be an effective top-six winger in the NHL, Kapanen has never been able to match the 20-goal, 44-point campaign he had in 2018-19 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. His production has gone up and down like a see-saw, along with his minutes and opportunity.
Many were surprised when the Penguins decided to sign him to a two-year contract last summer that carries a $3.2MM cap hit, knowing how unreliable he had been to this point. Well, now that he’s healthy, Kapanen will have another chance to prove he’s not just a guy but can be an impact player on a playoff roster.
Archibald, meanwhile, has never had the same kind of expectations. The sixth-round pick scored 12 goals in back-to-back seasons a few years ago but is not considered an offensive threat and is only relied on for energy and penalty killing. He hasn’t been able to provide either since going out of the lineup in December, meaning the Penguins will get a little jolt to the bottom six when he suits up.
With Jarry still not ready to return, Casey DeSmith is expected to start tonight.