May 21, 2024

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Blues claim Casperi Kapanen off waivers: Why St. Louis picked him

Blues claim Casperi Kapanen off waivers: Why St. Louis picked him

The St. Louis Blues have announced forward Kasperi Kapanen a day after the Pittsburgh Penguins placed him on waivers, the team announced Saturday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Kapanen, 26, has scored seven goals and 13 assists in 43 games this season.
  • Kapanen will be eligible to play for St. Louis on Tuesday against Seattle.
  • the athlete It was reported earlier this season that the Penguins were shopping Kapanen, who Pittsburgh signed last summer to a two-year contract for $3.2 million.

the athleteInstant Analysis:

Why did the blues choose him?

The Blues are in the midst of a roster retooling and need a bottom six forward with speed and skill, and Kapanen has that. Ivan Barbashev is expected to be traded before the March 3 deadline, which leaves Nikita Alexandrov, Nathan Walker, Jake Neighbors, Logan Brown (restricted free agent) and Alexei Toropchenko (RFA) as the other options heading into next season. With 364 NHL games, Kapanen also brings experience that group lacks. – Rutherford

Can Kabanen help the Blues?

It remains to be seen – while he has talent, does Kapanen enjoy Blues coach Craig Berup begging his players? They’ve had way too many guys on the last rosters who just weren’t willing to go inside, so there’s been a lot of turnover in the third and fourth rows. It will be interesting to see if Kapanen, who is an ocean player, fits Berube’s play style. Plus, it was a bit inconsistent, and the Blues had a lot of that too in the bottom six. – Rutherford

What does blues move forward mean?

Kapanen has another season on his deal ($3.2 million F). With Kapanen one of 15 players under contract for 2023-24, that leaves the Blues with $10.3 million in projected cap space. This wouldn’t really put the Blues out of the race for an expensive forward because they would have to move a defenseman anyway, and as mentioned, they needed a six-bottom forward. Timo Meier might be out of the equation, as San Jose seems to want more than what the Blues have to offer. – Rutherford

Why Kapanen was placed on waivers

Going on waivers, Kapanen was the easiest move GM Ron Hextall could have made to free up cover space so defenseman Jan Rota can return to the Penguins’ lineup this weekend.

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It’s also all but Hextall’s public admission that re-signing Kapanen to a two-year, $3.2 million-a-year contract was a glaring mistake last summer. This deal never made sense, given that Sullivan had struggled to get to Kapanen the previous two seasons, and it was the first hint that Sullivan and Heckstol weren’t on the same page.

Hextall has been trying to trade Kapanen since earlier this season, but hasn’t been able to find any takers to his liking. Hextall began looking for Kapanen in November, just as Sullivan knocked out Kapanen for nine out of 10 matches. – Russian

Where this leaves Pittsburgh

The Penguins’ $475,000 project will be under the salary cap with Kapanen claiming and Rutta returning from LTI. That’s not enough to make a deal, but it’s more than $18,500 for the breathing room they had as of Friday morning.

They could hollow out moving space by, for example, putting seldom-used defenseman Mark Friedman on waivers with the goal of getting him reassigned to the AHL. But even that wouldn’t put Pittsburgh in play for a deadline β€” at least not without some help. – Russian

what are they saying

“He’s a good choice, he brings pace, he has good skill,” Berubi told a news conference on Saturday. “I’m looking forward to having him join us here, training him and making him part of the team.”

Hextall elaborated on Pittsburgh’s decision when speaking to reporters on Friday.

β€œI think it was two years ago that Cap had 30 points in 40 games. He looked like a good player. The feeling was that last year was a bit of a down year and he was going to get back to normal,” the Pittsburgh GM said. β€œHe’s still a half. Point in the game approx. I think he could be a productive player, unfortunately it just didn’t work out here. Tough decisions have to be made along the way and that’s what happened with Kappy.”

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(Photo: Gaelen Morse/USA Today)