The deal that sent Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins has easily been the biggest trade of the NHL’s off-season. The speedy goal scoring forward fetched a solid return for the Blue and White with highly touted prospects Kasperi Kapanen and Scott Harrington coming back to Toronto.
Many Leaf fans weren’t all that happy with the players the Leafs acquired. There was talk that they weren’t the best prospects available, or that they wouldn’t make an impact on the Maple Leafs a few years down the road. I respectfully disagree with those opinions. Kapanen and Harrington should have bright futures ahead with the Maple Leafs.
The son of former NHL forward Sami, the younger Kapanen has an excellent shot of making an impact with the Maple Leafs one day. He’s a quick and smooth skater, has a fast and accurate release and handles the luck extremely well. He’s not an overly physical player but is able to play on the edge when the need calls for it.
The young Finn had a solid season for KalPa Kuopio of the SM-Liiga. He finished with 21 points in 41 games. He then transitioned over to the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins as they were closing out their regular season. The young forward, who is only 18, was a force in the playoffs and put up five points in seven games before the team was eliminated.
On a team with puck moving D like Rielly, Gardiner and Travis Dermott in the future, stay at home talent like Scott Harrington are needed.
— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) July 1, 2015
Harrington was the key defensive prospect sent the Maple Leafs way in the Kessel deal. Even before being traded to Toronto, the Kingston native had a connection to the team. He is a former London Knight and already has a relationship with Mark Hunter and the Leafs front office.
Harrington is seen as a two-way defenseman who has excellent skating that helps him at both ends of the ice. He is also slowly blossoming into a leader. He spent four years with the Knights and has most recently been patrolling the blueline for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. He was also given a 10 game look by the big Penguins last season where he averaged 15:48 of ice time.
The Maple Leafs rebuild has finally begun in earnest. Young players are the future of the franchise and Harrington and Kapanen will be looked at to carry the burden in the near future. It’s definitely an exciting time to be a Maple Leafs fan.