Kapanen is OK with Pens fans throwing his ‘name around’

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The Pittsburgh Penguins seem poised to improve by getting better on the wings, but that doesn’t have to come through free agent moves alone.

Improvement may come from within, and Kasperi Kapanen seems like a pretty obvious catalyst for possible internal improvement.

The 18-year-old appears aware that some are clamoring for him to be a full-time member of the Penguins, and he gets it, as Kapanen told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Saturday.

“People throw my name around. That’s acceptable,” Kapanen said. “I know they want me to play over there. I want to play over there too. I’m trying to be there next year. If it’s meant to be, then I will be.”

The 22nd pick of the 2014 NHL Draft turned heads early on, including making a great first impression on Bill Guerin last summer. He got a little taste of the North American game, too, participating in four regular season contests and seven playoff games for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2014-15 after finishing up his campaign in Finland.

While excitement continues to build about his potential, the young player continues to ready himself for the highest level, training with his father (former NHL player Sami Kapanen). It won’t be long before we find out if he can help the Penguins in 2015-16 or if the wait will continue a little bit longer.

At least he’s not denying his own excitement, though.

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