The Pittsburgh Penguins selected Kasperi Kapanen during the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. Aware of his skills, the franchise knew they were gaining a player who possessed a high offensive upside.
Penguins general manager stated that Kapenen is a player they need to keep an eye on. “We have to keep in mind that Kapanen could come in and make this team,” Rutherford said. “He’s played with men in Finland for two years. He’s a good player.”
Knowing that Kapenen has the ability to play in the NHL right away, the 22nd overall draft pick will have many watchful eyes during training camp this fall. He has a history of remaining a top player while playing in Finland and has plenty of experience on the ice.
Last season, the 17 year old had seven goals and and 14 points with KalPa in the SM-liiga in 47 games. Perhaps that doesn’t sound as great compared to those already in the NHL, but he played this while very young, against much more experienced players. It’s quite impressive.
The Penguins roster is currently a work in progress, so anything can happen come the start of the season. Rutherford believes the team is moving in the right direction, but I wouldn’t put it past the team to continue making changes up until the trade deadline next season. The current goal is to re-establish the team as a serious Stanley Cup contender and with rookie players such as Kapanen, this is definitely possible.