Toronto Maple Leafs: Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson are Untouchable

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 16: Charlie McAvoy
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 16: Charlie McAvoy /

Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson Are Un-touchable.

Because the Toronto Maple Leafs still have to sign Mitch Marner, in addition to dealing with the pending RFA status of both Kapanen and Johnsson, they two breakout Leafs wingers have become fodder for trade talk.

The idea is that you should take from where the Leafs are strong (supposedly the wing) and upgrade the blue line.

I don’t think this is the case.  Both players should remain with the Leafs and not be traded under any circumstances.

Kapanen and Johnsson

First, let’s kill the offer sheet idea.  Neither of these players is going to get four million dollars annually based on less than one full season as top six NHL players.  Technically, Johnsson isn’t even a top six forward (he’s as good as one, and should be a top six forward, but the Leafs play him on the third and fourth line).

Zero percent chance either is offersheeted.  There are no offer sheets in the NHL, and no one is dusting off the rules for one in order to try and get a late bloomer whose putting up stats on an offensive juggernaut.

Which brings me to my second point: the cap is going up, it’s a no brainer to sacrifice Hainsey, Brown, Hyman and Zaitsev in order to lock Kapanen and Johnsson up.  They will both re-sign, and if either player gets more than $3 million then they probably also signed for four years.  I predict that you will see both of these guys taking one-year deals for about $2.5.  That’s my guess, anyways.

Now what about the Leafs strength at the wings?  They have Marner, Nylander, Johnsson, Kapannen and……that’s about it.

Hyman scores like a fourth liner, although he’s good enough to be a top nine winger.  Marleau and Brown are fourth liners at the absolute best.  Ennis and Moore are good, but not good enough to brag about your “depth” if you continually overplay two fourth liners and a third liner too high in the lineup, which the Leafs do.


Realistically, any team that plays Zach Hyman on its first line can’t brag about their depth at the wings.  If utilized properly, Marner, Nylander, Johnsson and Kapanen provide top-flight NHL wingers to what can potentially be a great team.

But I don’t really care for their depth beyond that, especially with a coach who vastly overrates what Marleau, Hyman or Brown can contribute.

No team entering the playoffs should be willing to trade one of their top four wingers, especially if their defense isn’t horrible.  I think the Leafs, with Muzzin, Rielly, Gardiner and Dermott are doing just fine.

I would like them to add a right-handed shot to replace Ron Hainsey, but if the cost of Radko Gudas is Andreas Johnsson, then the Flyers can kick stones.

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Realistically, Johnsson and Kapanen should both be available to outperform whatever they sign in the summer to play for next season.  You don’t move cheap young forwards, especially ones this good.

A first rounder isn’t going to be replacing either player, so I say, if pressed, the Toronto Maple Leafs should be looking at trading any prospect or draft pick in the organization before they move Radko Gudas.

Kapanen and Johnsson are basically untouchable.

Kapanen and Johnsson are both capable scorers. I think Johnsson might be the better overall player, but Kapanen’s speed is incredible.  They’re both good.

I think when a team can pair four wingers on the  level of Nylander, Marner, Kapanen and Johnsson – with three centres on the level of Matthews, Tavares and Kadri, even if it does only turn out to be for a short period of time, they’ve got to try and run with it.

The Leafs have four really good defenseman.  It is necessary to replace at least one of Zaitsev or Hainsey, but not at the cost of Johnsson or Kapanen.  Who knows, an internal option like Rasmus Sandin or TImothy Liljegren might even be an upgrade, especially in light of the fact that Mike Babcock doesn’t seem willing to re-think the minutes that Zaitsev and Hainsey get, so ditching one and promoting a rookie would then force Babcock to play Muzzin and Dermott more.

Next. Leafs Trade Targets Master List. dark

And who knows – maybe in a sheltered role Liljegren or Sandin will shine.

Either way, I can’t stress this enough: trading Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson would be a mistake.

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