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Draft Profile: Kasperi Kapanen

Friday, 06.20.2014 / 9:45 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Draft Profile: Kasperi Kapanen
Each weekday leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft on June 27-28, CarolinaHurricanes.com will profile one player we believe might be available for Carolina’s seventh pick. Previous Profiles: Haydn Fleury | Aaron Ekblad | Leon Draisaitl | Michael Dal Colle | Sam Bennett | Related Links: 2014 NHL Draft Preview | Hurricanes Draft History




Michael Smith
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Years ago, a couple of young kids were among the participants in a “Mice on Ice” program in Cary. They were Josh Wesley, son of Glen Wesley and now a draft-eligible defensive prospect, and Kasperi Kapanen, son of Sami Kapanen.

Kapanen is now the NHL’s Central Scouting Service’s No. 1 ranked European skater and figures to be a top-10 pick come draft day.

“He’s considered to be one of the top prospects in the Draft,” said Tony MacDonald, the Canes director of amateur scouting. “He’s going to fall into the category of a top-10 pick where he’ll fit somewhere.”

As evidenced by his surname, Kapanen, 17, has strong hockey bloodlines. His grandfather, Hannu Kapanen, skated for five seasons with Jokerit and HIFK of SM-liiga, Finland’s top professional hockey league, in the late 70s. He also represented Finland in the 1976 Canada Cup and the 1976 Winter Olympics. He would go on to coach in SM-liiga in the mid-90s.

KASPERI KAPANEN
Kasperi Kapanen
RIGHT WING
HOMETOWN: KUOPIO, FINLAND
HEIGHT: 6'0"
WEIGHT: 180
BIRTHDAY: JULY 23, 1996 (AGE 17)

Kasperi’s father, Sami, was drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the fourth round (87th overall) in 1995. He would go on to log 348 points (145g, 203a) in 520 games over eight seasons with the franchise. Sami’s NHL career would ultimately span 831 games over 12 seasons. He left the NHL after the 2007-08 season and has skated with Kalpa Kuopio of SM-liiga in five of the last six seasons.

For the last two seasons, Sami and Kasperi have had the unique bond of being not only father and son but also teammates.

Just 16 years old at the time, Kasperi played the majority of the 2012-13 season with Kalpa’s U-20 team, posting 29 points (14g, 15a) in 36 games. He scored four goals in 13 games with the big club in addition to logging an assist in four playoff matches. In 2013-14, Kasperi recorded 14 points (7g, 7a) in 47 games with a Kalpa squad that won just 15 of 60 games.

“Kasperi plays a pro game now,” MacDonald said. “He played with the men in Finland, and they didn’t have the greatest year so it was a little difficult for a young, 17-year-old player. But he handled it pretty well.”

The 2013-14 campaign marked Sami’s swan song. Now, Kasperi, the third-generation hockey-playing Kapanan, will begin a new chapter of his family’s legacy.

Sami was known for being slight and swift-footed, and from 1997-2002, he was a five-time 20-goal scorer. Even as a teenager, Kasperi is already at least four inches taller and 10 pounds heftier, and MacDonald compliments his skating and shot.

“Sami was a pretty dynamic player for the Hurricanes,” MacDonald said. “Kasperi plays a more direct, controlled game than his dad did, and he’s a bigger player.”

Kasperi has also drawn attention in international play. In the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, Kapanen paced the Finnish national team with three goals and nine points in five tournament games. The same year in the IIHF World U-18 Championship, he ranked second among all skaters with five goals – including the bronze-medal-winning goal against Russia – in seven games.

As the top-ranked European skater and a product of a noteworthy hockey lineage, Kapanen figures to hear his name called early in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft.



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81