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Kapanen falls to Penguins at 22nd overall

Jun 27, 2014, 9:57 PM EDT

Kasperi Kapanen came into the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday ranked as the No. 1 European skater by the league’s Central Scouting Bureau.

But he was forced to sit and watch as the selections went by and others young teenage players heard their names called in Philadelphia. It wasn’t until the 22nd overall pick that Kapanen finally took a walk up onto the giant stage, taken by the Pittsburgh Penguins and their new general manager Jim Rutherford.

There’s a connection there.

Kapanen is the son of former NHLer and Carolina Hurricanes winger Sami Kapanen. Rutherford, the former GM in Carolina and Hartford before that, selected the father in the fourth round of the 1995 draft. According to the NHL, the Kapanen father-and-son combination played on the same team – KalPA in the SM liiga – for the past two years.

Yet it was interesting to see the younger Kapanen fall through the round, especially considering that other European players William Nylander, Kevin Fiala and Jakub Vrana – all ranked below Kapanen – went well before him in the draft.

Size might be one issue. He’s listed at 5’11” and 180 pounds, but Goran Stubb of European Scouting said in his draft profile that the right winger didn’t shy away from rough or physical play. His skating was also lauded as a quality he possesses.

According to TSN, Kapanen suffered a shoulder injury prior to selection of the Finnish World Junior team, and low production in KalPa may have have also contributed to his fall.

  1. billiam55 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:08 PM


    • steelcity333 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:18 PM

      You would think NBC would want to help the NHL grow. This certainly doesn’t help.

  2. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    This is what makes the rivalry so awesome!

    • chanceoffleury - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:10 AM

      I always feel a little bad for the draftees, haha! Their first introduction in the National Hockey League is met with a plethora of boos. I mean, nothing against Philly (in this argument at least, lots of things against Philly in general) because all good hockey cities boo their rivals at the draft, but these kids have probably dreamed about this moment incessantly over the last few months/years and I doubt any of them dream of hearing their name called and then just a straight 5 minutes of booing. I’m sure their upcoming multi-million dollar contracts help soften the blow a little, but it still always makes me laugh/feel bad for them. Helps thicken the skin and instill the hatred from the start, I guess! Haha!

  3. blackandorangeforlife - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    If this kid has half the heart his dad had he will be a winner……Loved Sammi the little engine that could!

    • c9castine - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:01 AM

      remember when he got pasted by tucker and basically willed his way to the bench not knowing where the F he was or how to use his legs? i always admired him for that in some sick way.

  4. runtheball - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    He looks like Ollie Maata.

    • c9castine - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:04 AM

      both Fins that were drafted 22nd overall

    • chuchie414 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      When the Flyers passed on Maatta I was so hoping the Pens took him. One year later & the same thing happens. As soon as the Flyers took Sanheim I was praying until no one took Kapanen until the 22nd pick. Sweet pick!

  5. c9castine - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    i love this pick i think we stole this one. ill take the number 1 ranked european skater in the 22nd spot anytime.

    kids that have dads who not only played in the NHL but had solid careers have an advantage…they already have a real good idea of what it takes to win and how to be a pro.

    • chanceoffleury - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:01 AM

      I’ve found it can be hit or miss. They can either be the most entitled of little brats because of their last name and always being fawned over growing up because they are so and so’s son, or they have a ridiculous and enviable work ethic their father ingrained in them over the years to try and encourage them to make their own legacy as a player and to stop having to live in dad’s shadow. Not that you shouldn’t be proud of being your dad’s nhl legacy, but being the youngest child of 4 I feel like I can relate to constantly hearing about presumptive expectations and never really having your own identity if you don’t find a way to separate yourself from them in someway. It’s often reflective to the type of player their dad was and Sami was a hard working and tenacious guy on the ice, so Kasperi’s probably the latter

      Surely not a bad pick at all for the Pens. Could easily turn into a gem for them in a few short years. Hopefully he can grow with Maatta, Pouliot, and Bennett by playing under Johnston with him coming from a juniors coach role. That’s ultimately what I hope the Pens get out of Johnston: a teaching coach. It’ll help them drastically if they can fill most of the gaps being made because of carrying caps like Letang’s and Malkin’s using their own development depth. At least until the cap goes up enough and more teams start signing their core to contracts in the new CBA.

  6. capsnbohs23 - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    Kind of jealous about the pens picking Kapanen, i really liked him, best of luck to you guys!

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