Getting to Know: Kasperi Kapanen
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Position: Right Wing
Size: 6-foot, 181 pounds
Birth Date: July 23, 1996
Hometown: Kuopio, FIN
How the Pens Acquired him: Drafted in the 1st round (22nd overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft
Team Status: GM Jim Rutherford has mentioned Kapanen could be ready for NHL playing time as early as this season. He’s a potential candidate for a spot in the Penguins’ top-6 forward group.
Claim to Fame: Kasperi has played the past two seasons on the same team as his father, former NHL player Sami, for KalPa Kuopio of the Finnish Elite League. Both Kasperi and his father were drafted by Rutherford. His grandfather, Hannu Kapanen, is a Finnish Hockey Hall of Famer who represented Finland at the 1976 Olympics and Canada Cup. Sami was drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the 4th round (87th overall) of the 1995 NHL Draft, and totaled 458 points in 831 games with the Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers.
2013-14 Season: Kasperi played in 47 games for KalPa in Finland’s top professional ice hockey league. He had seven goals and seven assists for 14 points. He also suited up for two games for KalPa’s junior team, where he had six points (5G-1A). Additionally, he played in five games at the World Under-18 Championships for Finland, recording two points (1G-1A).
Numbers Never Lie: Kapanen made his Finnish League debut at age 16 in 2012-13. He finished 2nd among all players with five goals, including the game-winner in the bronze-medal game against Russia, at the 2013 Under-18 World Championships in Sochi. He led Finland with nine points (3G-6A) in five games at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, where he served as an alternative captain. Additionally, he was the No. 1-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting.
Trophy Case: Won the World Under-18 Championship bronze medal in 2013 and was the Rookie of the Year (“Heino Pulli Award”) in Finland’s junior league in 2011-12.
Kapanen’s take on going to a Pirates game at PNC Park: “The baseball game was amazing. I’m not a big baseball fan, but that game really changed my mind. It was great. The atmosphere was good, and luckily they won.”