Many times when a young player is traded by the team who drafted him, there is some disappointment. Probably some second guessing and a whole lot of wondering what he might have done differently during his time with the organization. That wasn’t the case for Luca Caputi, who was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs last week in exchange for left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky. Sure he was leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins, the only team he had known during his young professional career, but he was going home.
Caputi was headed to Toronto to play for the Maple Leafs, the team he spent his childhood rooting for.
The Maple, Ontario native often dreamed of pulling on a Maple Leafs sweater and almost unbelievably, he was about to. Caputi was taking in some wrestling matches in Wilkes Barre-Scranton with some Penguins teammates when news began to make the rounds in the rumor mill about the trade.
“All of a sudden I started getting text messages from family and friends,” Caputi told the Toronto Sun. “They were telling me TSN was reporting I was going to be traded to the Leafs.”
It was a special moment for Caputi, but if he believed it to be the best moment of his life, he was sorely mistaken. That would come six days later when he would skate in his first home game in Toronto.
Coming into tonight’s game in Toronto, head coach Ron Wilson knew that Caputi had plenty of family and friends in the stands and threw him a bone. He allowed Caputi to line up at left wing for the opening face-off providing an amazing moment for the player and upwards of 40 family and friends.
“The fans gave me a pretty loud cheer there,” Caputi said to TSN post game. “I can’t really describe it right now. I think in the next couple days, hopefully it will sink in. I’m still in la-la land right now.”
That wouldn’t be the only special moment for Caputi on the night. He would also score the game tying goal against the Bruins with 12:47 remaining in the third period, which allowed his team to win it in overtime.
The goal was the kind that Brian Burke, Ron Wilson and company had in mind when he brought the local kid into the fold. Caputi went to the net and was pretty much standing at the edge of the crease when the puck bounced into an area that allowed him to backhand it home.
“I thought he played pretty well considering he was a little bit anxious before the game with all his family here,” Wilson said to TSN. “To be getting the tying goal the way he did, that’s something I’m sure we’ll see a lot of, around the goal crease, bumping, scuffling with the goaltender and stuff like that. Good for him.”
Good for him is right.
It isn’t often that you see a trade that works out so perfectly for all involved, but this one seems to fit the mold.