Just getting settled from being at the Draft, busy weekend...
Kasperi Kapanen - Plays already in the Liiga, Finnish top-league. One of the top-5 leagues in the world. Disappointing U18 (including a 10-0 loss to rival Sweden, but poor coaching also factored in). Very nearly made the U20 WJC as a 17 year old, but was injured. Numbers obviously don't mean much of anything when talking about scouting a player, but very respectable numbers for his age against the competition he was going against. Definitely a positive.
Well, you can't get much more pure talent at #22. Talked to a couple teams that had him very high in terms of ceiling. He has a boatload of raw skill. His hands are buttery smooth. One thing that sticks out to me, and this is a big deal for me with skill players, and that's his release. I think the release of his shot is terrific. His one-on-one skills look better than they are though. Has to work on being able to pull these things off at top speed or they won't be overly effective in the NHL. Potential still very much exists on that front. He has to use his teammates better, but at the same time, Kalpa is a poor team. He had limited help. He played on a line with his dad a little bit this year. But they don't play similarly. Kapanen obviously needs to mature. Physically and mentally. The Finnish schedule is shorter and has many more breaks, so maybe his dad will buy him a gym membership - he needs it. One thing though, and I know a lot of people are saying, "wow, great speed!" - I don't see great top-end speed (definitely not bad), but what I see is a good first step. I see strong ability to change gears and the timing of it is on point. And he's slippery. He's not big, but he's tough to lay a lick on.
- Now, some people might say, "well, he plays in Europe, huge rink, soft players, of course he won't get dinged..." - well, that's not exactly true. In Liga, they use the hybrid rinks. It's between NHL and KHL size. So, he's not playing on a soccer field. Also, the Finnish League is probably the most straightforward style of play league in Europe. Finns are not generally known for their overwhelming skill and skating. They are usually good two-way players, good board players, smart and can be physical (Ruutu's, Vaananen, etc.). So, he isn't playing the Vysshaya Liga or anything, this is a legitimate gateway to North American hockey. I have heard of some players transferring from Sweden's League to Finland's League for a season as a way of preparing for the AHL/NHL. He's not just ice dancing over there.
Offensive upside is there, release is there. I think he's a little more flash than substance personally. I'd like to see him improve his passing skills and timing on that front. Defensively, it's just not going to happen, so there's no point in harping on that. This is a one-way player I gotta believe. He does do some pretty good work on the forecheck. His angles are normally pretty sharp I feel. Escapability - normally a term I reserve for d-men - is noteworthy. Probably better as a first guy in, last guy back. Rare Finn taken by us out of Finland...what was the last? Timo Seppanen? Definitely an interesting pick. I know Randy Sexton said he could see him in Pittsburgh in a year. I don't see that. I see two more years in KalPa - I mean, it's his dad's team, I doubt he's going to leave there to play in the AHL. It wouldn't make sense for him either. He's not ready for that. Maybe at 20 you sign him and talk about what it looks like. I think him leaving his dad's club - and I hate use such a device - to play in the AHL before the age of 20 is unrealistic. Maybe if he blows up in 2014-15, maybe you consider it at 19, but I don't think we're there yet.
Potential: First line, goal scoring winger, like Alexander Radulov
Bust chance: Pretty high. If his skill, his game doesn't translate well, there are no redeeming qualities that will save him.
Last edited by mikey287
on Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.