Anaheim Ducks Interest in Kasperi Kapanen Raises Questions

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Jakob Silfverberg #33 of the Anaheim Ducks pushes Kasperi Kapanen #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Jakob Silfverberg #33 of the Anaheim Ducks pushes Kasperi Kapanen #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Anaheim Ducks
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 7: Kasperi Kapanen #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

What Are The Anaheim Ducks Thinking?

Without knowing the specifics of what Murray was offering, it’s hard to get a full picture of what could have been on his agenda. Yet, knowing that Toronto wanted to cut some salary, suggests that the Ducks would have been taking on salary and thus trading cheaper options and draft picks. If that hypothesis would be correct, then questions need to be asked about the Ducks’ direction.

Do the Anaheim Ducks think they are ready to contend as they are currently built, with the addition of 35-45 point scorer such as Kapanen?

The Anaheim Ducks finished the season with 182 goals scored (26th in the league). Even assuming we added all of Kapanen’s points to the ledger as goals, the Ducks would only move into 15th position in the league. Though naturally, that wouldn’t necessarily be the case and the number would be far less than that.

Thus the question has to be asked, where is additional scoring coming from to bridge the gap from the middle of the table to the leagues elite (the Ducks were 42 goals short of the 10th placed Las Vegas team)?

Given the Ducks would be closer to the salary cap, assuming that Toronto fulfilled its aim of cutting salary and that they would likely be forced to trade young talent to make the trade, it’s difficult to see where further scoring support would come from. Trades would be difficult and internal support unlikely, given the most likely sources would be from the potentially outgoing younger player.

What style of play do the Anaheim Ducks intend to implement in the future?

Kapanen has the makings of a wonderfully skilled, quick skating, forward. He has, over the course of his NHL career, become a little more versatile than he was perhaps projected to be when he was drafted 22nd overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins. In each of his past 3 seasons, Kapanen has played an increasing role on the Toronto penalty kill, culminating last season as the 4th most used forward on their 21st-in-league ranked unit.

While it is worth noting the Leafs penalty kill was ranked 18th in 2018-2019 and 11th in 2017-2018, the decline certainly cannot be attributed solely to Kapanen’s rising minutes. It is merely an observation that his increasing role didn’t necessarily help the Leafs maintain their play in that sphere of play.

Nonetheless, his playstyle would seem at odds with recent Ducks draft selections, Max Jones and Maxime Comtois, who both play a far heavier game. Nick Ritchie too, while gone, was not the speedster that Kapanen can be. Perhaps players such as Sonny Milano and Sam Steel fit the quicker skater mold. Though all in all, it’s hard to discern a clear direction the Anaheim Ducks are trending towards.

Do they want to be a hard-hitting physical team employing the ilk of Jones and Comtois to bang bodies in the corners and rough up their opposition? Do they want to be the quick skating team that catches their opponent napping, and puts pressure on them off of the rush? Or are they simply looking to see what sticks and then build around those pieces?

Bob Murray is certainly no communicative genius and given his gaffes when he has spoken about his plans for the team, its no real surprise that he keeps his ideas to his chest. Nonetheless, it would be nice for fans to get a glimpse of the overarching theme behind Murray’s moves and ideas. Looking into a new era without Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry is a new world for everyone. Knowing the plan could go a long way to easing angst amongst the faithful.