How the mighty have fallen.
Seven months ago, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen was given a contract extension. On Friday, he was placed on waivers, according to coach Mike Sullivan.
Kapanen, 26, is signed through next season at a cap hit of $3.2 million, but his subpar performances both this season and last have put him on the trading block.
"When a team doesn't live up to expectations, change is inevitable -- that's part of it," Sullivan said. "Kappy is a really talented player. To a certain extent, it's on all of us because we didn't find a way to maximize his potential."
Kapanen has just seven goals and 20 points in 43 games with the Penguins this season. His average ice time has dropped to 12:02, almost two minutes less per game than last season. He's been a healthy scratch multiple times.
In his most recent effort, Kapanen was minus-2 in 11:32 of ice time in Thursday's 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, which dropped the Penguins to 27-21-9 and out of a playoff spot.
Kapanen signed a two-year, $6.4 million contract with the Penguins on July 21, 2022, despite not producing at previous levels.
"I think it was two years ago Kap had 30 points in 40 games. He was looking like a pretty good player. The feeling was that last year was a bit of a down year and that he would bounce back," general manager Ron Hextall said Friday. "He's still almost a half-a-point-a-game guy. I think he can be a productive player, unfortunately, it hasn't worked here. Tough decisions have to be made along the way and that's what this was with Kappy."
The Penguins visit the St. Louis Blues on Saturday afternoon. If Kapanen goes unclaimed -- and there is reportedly little interest due to performance and salary issues -- he'll be sent to the AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
--Field Level Media