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Penguins sign first-round pick Kapanen

Jul 11, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT

2014 NHL Draft - Portraits Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed their 2014 first-round draft pick, Kasperi Kapanen, to a three-year entry-level contract.

Kapanen was the 22nd player chosen in the draft. The 17-year-old Finnish winger was the top-ranked European skater, according to Central Scouting.

Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford believes there’s a chance Kapanen could crack the Pens’ roster next season.

  1. jpelle82 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    still cant believe he fell to 22nd….and he looks like he could be Ollie maatta’s brother

    • m1k3g - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      ….twin brother

      • jpelle82 - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        small gene pool in finland…they both look like they could be Ollie jokinen’s sons

    • blomfeld - Jul 12, 2014 at 1:55 AM

      We SC Champion LA Kings understand that you Penguins likely ‘mean well’ eh ? :)

      • blynasty - Jul 12, 2014 at 2:09 AM

        Do it against the Penguins! Even try and come out of the East! We got Detroit now.

  2. hockey412 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Nice to see a good message sent to the kid.

    • storminator16 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      If you are a Pens fan, do not trust Jim Rutherford’s judgement. Signing him is one thing, but openly saying “we think he can make our club next year” is why Jim Rutherford fails. He rushes prospects. I think he is too enamored with the fact he drafted his father and watched Kasperi grow up a short while in Raleigh. Rutherford need to let the kid develop before putting pressure on him to succeed. He needs to head straight to Wilkes-Barre and don’t pass go.

      • storminator16 - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        Or stay in Europe.

      • blynasty - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        I don’t agree. He is a skill guy who is a future top 6 forward in the league. Euro bred NHL prospects are already playing a man’s game when they are drafted. They haven’t been the star on a U-18 team for the past 3 years, they have been 15 year old standouts playing against guys in their 30’s. They have to grow up quick. Just look at Olli Maatta last year. His only demise was when he found out what it’s like to play over 60 games in a season. I agree you have to be cautious with him, but if he comes into prospect camp and succeeds I have no problem seeing him as an NHL regular.

      • storminator16 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        You don’t agree but:

        #1 reason – Kasperi really needs to strengthen up.

        I didn’t say he couldn’t make the NHL next season. My point is “should he?” He is an undersized kid who will probably focus on the defensive side of the game just to stay in the lineup (i.e., 4th line minutes). How is that helping him? Kasperi isn’t a phenom. I think folks are expecting too much out of this kid already. It is non-sense.

      • pens87 - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        Rutherford did draft you all Jeff Skinner seventh overall when his stock had fallen into the 30s right before the draft. He has been one of my favorite players to watch in this league. So I’d say Rutherford has not always had “poor judgement”. Was he the best GM on the market? Nah. But I don’t think he’s going to run the pens into the ground either. I liked this pick.

  3. rushledger - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    I’m just hoping we can survive the 2-3 years of Rutherford. Still scratch my head thinking ownership wasn’t satisfied with how far Shero got the penguins in the playoffs the last five years winning 4 out of. 9 playoff series… So they fire him and bring in a creepy 65 year old guy who couldn’t even get Carolina in the playoffs once over the last five years.

  4. killerpgh - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    He isn’t old enough to play in the AHL.

    • storminator16 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      Age limit rule doesn’t apply to players who played in the European leagues. That is just NA junior non-sense.

      • storminator16 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        I.e., his rights isn’t owned by a NA junior team.

      • storminator16 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        Scratch that, even if his rights were owned by a NA junior team. These kinds of things happen more times than you think, I think folks are confused on this rule because most kids don’t this because they can make more money staying home in Europe while developing. Canes 18 year old Elias Lindholm played in the AHL parts of last season after he started the team with the big club. Canes prospect Victor Rask went back to play in Calgary of the CHL 2 seasons ago after starting the season with the Canes AHL affiliate in Charlotte. However, Rask played the season before in Europe.

    • hockey412 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Stormy’s right – that’s the CHL rule – no agreement between AHL and Europe that I know of. As long as he’s 18 by September 15th he’s ok I think.

      • killerpgh - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        I was wrong. I thought his birthday was right before the season started, but after the Sept 15th AHL cut off. I thought the NHL used age at the start of the regular season, but they use the Sept 15th cut off as well. So if his birthday was when I thought it was he wouldn’t of been eligible to be drafted.

  5. xaile94 - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    the rule is for players drafted out of the CHL. Kapanen was not. JT Miller was drafted out of the USNTDP, played one year with Plymouth in the CHL, then went to Hartford at 19.

    • storminator16 - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      Thanks, that was the simplest explanation of it. Just CHL nonsense.

  6. pjblake2redwings - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    he is going to be a stud. my mind was blown when Detroit and 21 others let him go…

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