Maple Leafs acquire Jared McCann from Penguins before Kraken Expansion Trade Freeze

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With minutes to go before an NHL trade freeze went into effect, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired forward Jared McCann from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for prospect forward Filip Hallander.’

The trade was first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

McCann scored 14 goals and added 18 assists in 43 games last season. He averaged 14:07 of ice time while playing primarily as a third-line winger. With Pittsburgh loaded with talented players up front, the versatile forward could move up to occupy second-line minutes with the Leafs.

The 25-year-old has one year remaining on a two-year contract that carries an average annual value of $2.94 million. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2021-22 season, ensuring the Leafs can retain control of his rights.

Hallander returns to the team that drafted him. The 21-year-old was drafted by the Penguins in the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft. 

Hallander was traded to Toronto last August when the Penguins sent him along with forward Evan Rodrigues and defenseman David Warsofsky and the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft for forward Kasperi Kapanen, the rights to forward Pontus Aberg and defenseman Jesper Lindgren.

Teams have until 5 p.m. ET to submit their protection list. McCann was a likely candidate to be exposed by the Penguins regardless of the protection strategy imposed by the club.

Under a seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender strategy, McCann sits right on the bubble. Hallander is exempt from selection and ensures the club gets something in return.

The addition of McCann could help the Leafs add to their depth up front with all signs pointing to forward Zach Hyman testing free agency. McCann would still need to be protected by the Leafs and may still be exposed by the club.