Leafs showcasing young talent for a trade?

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman drops a bomb on Leafs fans.

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Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen made it clear to anyone who’d listen to him after yesterday’s practice that he has no intention of ever going back to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. The plan for Kapanen is to stick in the NHL for good this time.

The 21-year-old Kapanen has just three goals in 25 games at the NHL level over the course of three seasons with the Leafs, but he’s been dynamite this season with the Marlies scoring 12 goals and 24 points in 28 games.

While he hopes his most recent call-up is the final one in his career, a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman calls into question the reasoning for Kapanen’s promotion. 

The question about Kasperi Kapanen: Is this a legitimate shot to stick with the Toronto Maple Leafs, or is it a showcase?

Showcase? Like for a trade? Interesting theory. It’s no secret that the Leafs are looking for some blue line help in advance of next month’s trade deadline, but as of yet Kapanen’s name hasn’t been thrown into the rumour mill. He’s a talented young player though, so there’s no doubt that he’d generate interest on the trade market.

It’s important to note that Friedman failed to follow up his question with any real sources or inside information, so at this point consider any talk of a Kapanen trade as purely rumour and speculation. Still… it does make sense, especially if the Leafs are hesitant to move an impact player like William Nylander or Mitch Marner for defensive help.

Matthews tampering accusations turning serious?

According to multiple reports, Leafs superstar Auston Matthews spent his All-Star weekend in Tampa Bay “actively recruiting” pending free-agents Drew Dougthy and Erik Karlsson.

This led to a field day for Toronto based media outlets like Sportsnet and TSN and it sent Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators fans into an absolute frenzy. The NHL has neglected to comment on the issue, and the league’s rules about what exactly constitutes tampering from one player to another player is a bit hazy.

All of this has raised the question, “what the Hell is tampering anyway?”

The Athletic’s Tyler Dellow uncovered an interesting clause in the NHL’s CBA (by way of Detroit Red Wings blog Winging it in Motown), that sheds a bit of light on the question at hand.

The phrasing in this paragraph is interesting. “Players may not tamper with or help with contract negotiations for other players…”, it states. Well… clearly this never happened. Matthews certainly wasn’t talking salary and bonus structure with his fellow All-Stars, he was merely dropping hints with a “wouldn’t it be great” grin on his face. 

With no real hockey the past few days, the tampering “allegations” have been a topic of hot debate on Toronto radio stations. Opinions range from “lock him up” to “forget about it”, but don’t hold your breath on any meaningful penalty or suspension. After all, the hockey world is a small community and this wouldn’t be the first time that players talked to each other off the record about their future plans. Still, if either Doughty or Karlsson end up signing with the Leafs in the summer of 2019, you can BET that Kings fans and Senators fans will be calling for Matthews’ head!