Maple Leafs send Kapanen to Penguins, get first-round pick in multi-player deal

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TORONTO — The Maple Leafs have traded winger Kasperi Kapanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a multi-player deal that also lands Toronto a first-round draft pick.

Kapanen, defence prospect Jesper Lindgren and winger Pontus Aberg were shipped to the Penguins Tuesday for the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft, forwards Evan Rodrigues and Filip Hallander and defenceman David Warsofsky.

The trade also allows Toronto to clear some cap space. Kapanen has a cap hit of US$3.2 million for the next two years.

Toronto now has a first-round pick back in this year’s draft after trading its first-rounder (13th overall) to the Carolina Hurricanes along with Patrick Marleau last summer. The Hurricanes eventually bought out the veteran winger.

The trade involves two teams eliminated in the qualifying round of the NHL’s post-season earlier this month.

Kapanen, 24, returns to the organization that drafted him in the first round (22nd overall) in 2014.

The Finn was sent to the Leafs as part of a blockbuster deal for Phil Kessel in the summer of 2015.

Kapanen made his NHL debut with the Leafs in 2015-16. Since then, he has played 202 games for Toronto, recording 41 goals and 49 assists.

“Kasperi is a good, young player that brings speed to our lineup and plays the way we want to play,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement. “Having previously drafted him, we know him as a player and feel he can improve our top-6.”

Aberg, from Sweden, had one assist in five games with the Leafs this season. He had 20 goals and 24 assists in 55 games with the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies.

Lindgren, also a Swede, was a fourth-round Leafs pick in 2015. He had one goal and eight assists in 31 games for the Marlies this season.

Rodrigues was acquired by the Penguins from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline this year. The Toronto native, who is a restricted free agent, had six goals and four assists in 45 NHL games this season.

Hallander, a second-round pick in 2018, has played in Sweden the past two years.

Warsofsky has spent the past two seasons in the AHL.