Leading up to the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Kasperi Kapanen (RW)
Height: 5’11 Weight: 180 Shoots: Left
Team: KalPa Kuopio (Finland)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 among European skaters
What kind of player is he?
In a year that has no shortage of sons of former NHL players, Kapanen still stands out. For one thing, his professional hockey lineage actually dates back to his grandfather, Hannu, who was a player/coach in the Finnish league and represented his country in the 1976 Olympics. On top of that, his situation is unique in the sense that his father, former NHL all-star Sami Kapanen, has spent the last two seasons playing alongside him in Finland.
While playing in a men’s league, the 17-year-old Kapanen has shown off his speed and creativity with the puck. That combination makes him dangerous in one-on-one situations, but he might find it challenging to adapt to North America’s more physically demanding play. Although he could turn into a great offensive player down the road, he’s not likely to make an impact in the NHL in 2014-15.
A shoulder injury prevented him from playing in the 2014 World Juniors and Finland had a disastrous showing in the Under-18 tournament. He still played in 47 games with KalPa though, scoring seven goals and 14 points.
With regards to his 2013-14 statistics with KalPa, it’s worth noting that it was a very rough campaign for the team. As an anonymous European scout told The Hockey News:
“The season hasn’t been fair to him. The team hasn’t been good and he doesn’t have a support group.”
For more 2014 NHL Draft previews, click here.