The NHL trade market is different than it was one year ago. NHL GMs have overspent en masse, perhaps not expecting so much company and so few teams with the salary cap space to create soft landings for their overspending mistakes. Moving bad contracts and regrets now costs a first-round pick. It’s not fair, but if the Pittsburgh Penguins want to move Kasperi Kapanen, his value is no longer a first-round pick in return but includes a tethered first-rounder to facilitate the deal.

No, that’s not fair, but the few GMs with cap space realized their value, and the demand for their cap space is not going down.

And, since we can generally assume that Penguins GM Ron Hextall would sooner submit to an unscreened dunk tank on Broad St in mid-January than he would include a first-rounder to move Kapanen, the Penguins have only a couple of options moving forward.

And yes, the Kapanen signing immediately brings a cascade of hindsight, especially since so many immediately panned it, but Kapanen is signed for this season and next at $3.2 million per.

There’s no changing that.

The Penguins lost the last eight games in which Kapanen played. While the advanced stats are a mixed bag, Brock McGinn scored five goals in his first seven games with Jeff Carter on the third line.