Kasperi Kapanen didn’t make the Pittsburgh Penguins out of training camp last summer. He admitted that he was disappointed by that, but he went back to Finland and had a strong season with KalPa Kuopio in the SM-liiga. Strong enough to make the Pens want to bring him over to North America to continue playing in the AHL to end the campaign.
The Penguins’ 2014 first-round draft pick made his debut with the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight, and it didn’t take long for him to make his presence known. Less than five minutes into the game Kapanen picked up a loose puck and stormed into the offensive zone before drifting to the outside and rifling a shot by Leigh Valley Phantoms goalie Rob Zepp.
— Jason Burkardt (@Jason_Burkardt) April 8, 2015
It’s a bit of a tough time to be a Penguins fan right now. They are teetering on the edge of missing the postseason for the first time since Sidney Crosby’s rookie season, and a big reason why is a lack of scoring depth. Kapanen is a player that could help solve that problem in the future.
He has excellent pedigree and while his defensive game needs work, that won’t ever be his meal ticket in the NHL. The 18-year-old is a point producer, plain and simple. Kapanen will need to round out his game over time, but this is an impressive play considering it’s his first few minutes in a new league with a new team.