With the 22nd pick overall in the first round, the Penguins took winger Kasperi Kapanen from KalPa (Sm-Liiga). The 5’10, 179 lbs. winger is the son of former NHL player Sami Kapanen. Per Eliteprospects.com,
Kapanen is a small and slippery with very creative hands and impressive 1-on-1 arsenal. He has a decent shot with good release but needs added velocity. He has quick feet and impressive lateral agility and is a dangerous goal scorer who can make skilled passes and offensive zone reads. (August 2013)
Kasperi Kapanen is currently ranked the best European prospect by Central Scouting, so you know there must be a lot of drive and potential to this future NHL player. As far as his skating abilities, Kapanen possesses both great speed and acceleration. His changes of pace easily fools defenders, and his edge work is close to perfect. He has great stickhandling ability and is capable of reading plays quickly and identifying scoring opportunities. On top of that, he has a good, accurate wrist shot. He’s also a great playmaker, and his high level of understanding the sport and impeccable on-ice vision provides him with the correct play. For being so young, Kapanen definitely has grit to his character. He’s usually involved with puck battles and a lot of his efforts goes into his backchecking. Adding some bulk to his frame will help to improve his defensive game. ”Kasperi Kapanen is one of the top European prospects for the draft in 2014,” NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com. “Good skater, excellent, smart moves around the net. Has a very good selection of shots, a real sniper. He will be regular on Kalpa in the Finnish league this season.”
Meanwhile, Jesse Marshall at Faceoff-Factor had Kapanen ranked as his 21st prospect in the draft. From Jesse,
Son of former NHL great Sami Kapanen, Kasperi Kapanen is a young, flashy winger who is equal parts playmaker and goal-scorer. While he may not have the flashy skating of his father, he can cruise around the ice at an above-average pace. Kapanen’s awareness is also above-average and his hands enable him to distribute the puck around the ice effectively. Kapanen’s calling card is his shot, which has a quick release and pinpoint accuracy. Kapanen can fool goaltenders by finding open spaces and squeezing pucks in with elite precision. His shot and game as a whole would be bolstered if he played with his head up a bit more. Kapanen doesn’t have a traditional howitzer of a sniper, but what he lacks in velocity he makes up for with stealth. His release is quick and deceiving. Kapanen is adequate defensively, and while his game in his own end isn’t an eyesore, some seasoning will be necessary for the next level. His game in the tough areas of the ice and in the department of physicality is a cause for concern. Kapenen doesn’t necessarily avoid contact as much as frame and approach hurt him. Having missed out on the World Junior due to injury, there’s still a large element to his game that has yet to be seen on an extremely large stage despite the fact that he was playing against grown men in Liiga. Kapanen’s fast hands, elite shot, and overall offensive skill set make him a strong asset in this draft that can deliver a large ROI with the investment that comes with it.
More thoughts and analysis to come!