The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t rushing Kasperi Kapanen’s development, so it shouldn’t be too big of a surprise that they’re giving him the go-ahead to play for Finland during the 2016 World Junior Championship.
Toronto made as much official on Sunday, while noting that a decision regarding William Nylander’s WJC future will come soon:
It’s remarkable that Kapanen is only 19, as he’s already on an interesting path.
The Pittsburgh Penguins seemed excited about their 2014 first-round pick (22nd overall) … until they weren’t, or at least they were willing to part with Kapanen to make the Phil Kessel trade work.
That, combined with splitting the 2014-15 season between the AHL and Finland, makes for an interesting ride even before he joined the Maple Leafs organization.
Kapanen’s doing solid work in the AHL, but (ideally) dominating at that international tournament could be a nice confidence boost.