Player: Kasperi Kapanen
Drafted By: Pittsburgh Penguins (22nd overall)
Position: Right wing
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 1 European skater
Height/Weight: 6'0'', 180 lbs
DOB: July 23, 1996 (17 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: SM-Liiga (Finland), KalPa
Kasperi Kapanen is a prospect who has garnered a lot of attention not only because of his skill, but also because of the fact that he is a third-generation player.
His father Sami played for the Philadelphia Flyers early in his career, and Kasperi spent significant time around the team during his father's tenure in Philly.
For the past few years, he has played overseas in his hometown of Kuopio, Finland. This season, he tallied 14 points in 47 games while playing in KalPa with his father. He has the makings of an NHL player, and there is a lot to like about this kid.
Full Scouting Report
Kapanen is on the small side weight-wise, but he has time to bulk up a little bit so he can be durable enough to compete in a physical NHL.
One of the biggest selling points for Kapanen is the fact that he is the son of a former NHL player. He knows firsthand what it takes to make it in the NHL, and he has been preparing for this his entire life.
A scout for The Hockey News said in the magazine's draft issue that Kapanen is a smart player who distributes the puck well and reads off his teammates. He has great on-ice awareness and a professional demeanor.
He is a very talented offensive player who moves well on the ice, and when afforded too much time and space, he is a very lethal finisher.
Kapanen is a talented forward overall and his upside is pretty high.
NHL Player Comparison
Justin Williams of the Los Angeles Kings: Kapanen is a player who does what it takes to win, and he is comparable to Williams in the sense that he has a solid all-around skill set.
Kapanen has top-end talent, but expect him to start his career in 2016-17 after further developing his game.
At his peak, Kapanen could be a top-six goal-scoring winger. He has speed, hands and solid hockey sense, and he is a hard worker. His next few years—whether they're spent in Finland or the American Hockey League—will be very important because they will determine what type of role he will fill at the NHL level.