Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Kasperi Kapanen discussed his July 1 trade from the Penguins with the Pittsburgh media on Sunday and admitted he was surprised by the move.
Kapanen was a part of the deal, which landed the Penguins Phil Kessel.
“I think it was a shock for everybody,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ahead of the Leafs’ prospects game against the Penguins. “I didn’t expect it.”
The 19-year-old was hanging out with friends in his native Finland when he got the news.
“I was just with my buddies, and I saw that my Twitter was exploding,” he said. ”I read some of the tweets and didn’t really think too much about it, but then my agent called me, so I thought something was going on.”
Originally the Penguins’ 2014 first-round selection (22nd overall) Kapanen joined the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League in April and appeared in four regular season games scoring a goal and an assist. He added three goals and two helpers in seven Calder Cup playoff games.
With the trade behind him, the 5-foot-10, 171-pound forward said he has no hard feelings towards the Penguins organization.
“I don’t hate them, or anything like that,“ he said. “Hopefully, I’ll just be a better player now. Their loss.”
Kapanen, a long shot to make the Leafs out of camp, will likely start the season in the AHL with the Marlies.
It remains to be seen if Phil Kessel can silence his critics with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he’s doing his part to put work ethic murmurs to bed.
Despite making scores of defensemen look foolish (and sometimes winded) with his immensely underrated foot-speed, people have railed on the sniper for “not looking like an athlete.” Maybe that will remain the case, but he’s dropped 13 lbs. this summer, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Dreger notes that Kessel lost the weight after going through Gary Roberts’ vaunted off-season plan, which drew rave reviews from players such as Steven Stamkos over the years.
So, with that, where are we at on the list of Kessel beefs? (Sifts through “doesn’t play defense” and “is bad with the media.”)
Then again, there’s always the Kyle Wellwood corollary: what if he’s better off with a little extra beef?
The owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins are seeking $750 million for the sale of the team, according to the sources of TSN’s Rick Westhead.
Westhead reports that $750 million would mark a record for the sale of a U.S.-based NHL team.
“It does seem a bit steep with the economy and for that market,” said Montreal economist Drew Dorweiler. “Pittsburgh is certainly not one of the largest cities in the U.S.”
In June, Penguins owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux retained Morgan Stanley to oversee the sale of the club.
“We conduct periodic reviews of our business and, because we have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years, we decided to engage Morgan Stanley for their insight and counsel,” Lemieux and Burkle said in a joint statement. “After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options.”
Last year, Forbes magazine valued the Penguins at $565 million – the 10th-most valuable franchise in the league.