The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired forward Jared McCann from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Filip Hallander and a 7th round draft pick.
Like always, the Penguins are in salary cap troubles. They are also in expansion draft troubles. This move prevents them from losing McCann for nothing to Seattle. However, they did not have much leverage. So, the return is very disappointing. Hallander was a second-rounder of their own back in 2018, who they traded less than a year ago to the Leafs for Kasperi Kapanen. They get the player back but lose a vital middle-six option who can play center and wing. Hallander is also yet to come to North America.
Hallander, 21, scored 13 goals with 11 assists for 24 points in 51 games for Lulea HF of Sweden in 2020-21. He scored two goals with an assist in seven playoff games.
While on paper, the Leafs are big winners here, there are questions to be answered. We all expected them to protect Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander, plus their four key defensemen. But now they have McCann and cannot do that and keep him. Do they protect McCann, Alex Kerfoot and another forward while exposing Justin Holl? We will see. There are also could be a side deal with Seattle involved. McCann is a very solid player who can play center and left-wing. He is signed for one more season at $2.94 million before becoming an RFA. He can be a good replacement for Zach Hyman, who is soon departing in free agency.
McCann, 25, scored 14 goals with 18 assists for 32 points in 43 games. In his NHL career for the Penguins, Florida Panthers, and Vancouver Canucks, McCann has scored 66 goals with 89 assists for 155 points in 353 games.