Kasperi Kapanen Top 30 NHL Draft Prospects


Fans of the Philadelphia Flyers and the Carolina Hurricanes are no strangers to the name Kapanen- throughout the 1990’s and into the 2000’s, right winger Sami Kapanen brought his immense speed to both teams, before returning to Finland to finish out his career with his first professional team, SM-liiga’s KalPa.

Now, at seventeen, his son Kasperi is making waves for the KalPa U18 and primary teams- and next week, might be making waves in North America, instead.

More from Frozen Futures

Standing at only 5’10” and 175lbs, the younger Kapanen isn’t a very physical player. Instead, he has spent his junior career developing sharp sniping skills, and is quick on his feet. The right-shooting right-winger stands out in his draft class as a strong forward prospect, which makes him a valuable prospect for some of the teams looking to build up their offensive lines.

What a team will get when they draft him:

Kapanen may be seventeen, but he’s already proven himself overseas as the kind of player who’s smart enough to compete with players both twice his age AND twice his size. He was ranked the top European prospect by Central scouting for his offensive abilities- whatever team drafts him will be getting the kind of player who doesn’t need much mental development. This could be good for a team that needs more speed and skill on an offensive line with an already established veteran.

“On a Nashville Predators team that has had trouble putting the puck in the back of the net, Kapanen would be a welcomed addition”

Kapanen could be a good asset for whatever team Joe Thornton ends up on, or possibly as a second or third liner behind Phil Kessel on the Toronto Maple Leafs. He could also be especially strong for the Panthers or Predators, who both have trouble getting and maintaining leads. In a draft class heavy on powerful young defensemen, this small, speedy forward could be an asset almost immediately for whoever picks him up.

Most underrated skill:

While Kapanen’s smart skating and sniping skills have pushed him to the front of his draft class, his ability to be a valuable playmaker isn’t receiving the kind of attention it deserves. According to Tony Piscotta of Hockey’s Future, this is what teams need to be looking at when they’re deciding whether to draft him or not. “While his physical skills aren’t overly impressive in terms of shooting velocity or skating speed,” stated Piscotta in a prospect report, “he has an impressive feel for the game”.

“While his physical skills aren’t overly impressive in terms of shooting velocity or skating speed, he has an impressive feel for the game”

This gives Kapanen a huge advantage. Many of the defensive prospects in this class aren’t going to be NHL-ready for another year or two, with some of them looking at another three or four years in the minors before finally strapping on skates alongside the stars. The ability to smartly read a play, though, can make up for any physical setbacks a player may have. Smaller players such as Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, and Brad Marchand have all established themselves as top-six forwards by using these playmaking skills, and if Kapanen plays his cards correctly, he could find himself playing consistently on a third or fourth line within the next season.

What he still needs to work on:

Kapanen may be smart, but even the smartest players need to be able to skate comfortably with bigger and stronger players in order to be established members of a team’s starting roster. He might still grow (he’s only 17), but if Kapanen wants to be a top-six forward any time soon, he’s going to have to become a little bit more physical, and develop his skating and shooting more.

Despite this, though, Kapanen is one to watch out for.