Kasperi Kapanen will start this season for the Pittsburgh Penguins on the first line with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel, coach Mike Sullivan said Monday.
"We think he brings that speed dimension that I think is complementary to Sid and Jake's game," Sullivan told The Scoop podcast. "And he's shown the ability to finish. He's scored 20 goals in this league (2018-19). He has elite speed, he has good size, so he brings a size dimension (6-foot-1, 194 pounds) to that line as well. So when we play in games that tend to be heavy in nature, I think [Kapanen is] a guy who can help us in that capacity. We think his skill set could potentially be very complementary to Sid and Jake."
Pittsburgh acquired Kapanen as part of a six-player trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Aug. 25. The 24-year-old right wing was the Penguins' first-round pick (No. 22) in the 2014 NHL Draft and traded to the Maple Leafs on July 1, 2015. He scored 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) in 69 games last season and 90 points (41 goals, 49 assists) in 202 games with Toronto.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford told SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on Oct. 17 he believed Kapanen would be a good fit with Crosby and Guentzel.