The new multi-year deal given to Kasperi Kapanen may be unpopular, but the Pittsburgh Penguins have a chance to morph the outlook of the young forward.
If the Penguins want to get the most out of Kapenen, they need to make him a more defensive forward and make him part of the penalty kill.
During his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kapanen exceled as a bottom-six forward who helped shut down opposing offenses.
This is no way a demotion but could be a way for Kapanen to find the confidence he has been lacking.
During his time in Toronto, Kapanen scored five short handed goals, matching the career total from Teddy Blueger.
Pens fans know the kind of two way threat Blueger poses on the kill, why not add another name to that?
Since joining the Penguins, Kapanen hasn’t seen more than a handful of seconds on the penalty kill, but his track record proves he can be a threat.
All through 2021-22, it was clear Kapanen had lost his confidence and needed a change in his game to find his scoring touch again.
Forcing a defensive role, one that he has played before, could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Not only does Kapanen have a resume of defensive play, but the Penguins can’t be afraid to utilize it and have a scoring threat while a man down.
Something about Kapanen’s game changed when he was brought back to Pittsburgh, but moving him to his former role should prove beneficial for the Penguins.
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