Pens pick Finnish winger Kapanen in 1st round of NHL Entry Draft
PHILADELPHIA — Jim Rutherford kept the pick, and he hopes he landed a falling star at the NHL Entry Draft.
With his first pick as Penguins general manager, Rutherford authorized the selection of Finnish winger Kasperi Kapanen on Friday night.
A frenzied crowd of booing Philadelphians temporarily halted their deafening jeering of Penguins brass on the stage for the introduction of Kapanen, who spent time in the city when his father Sami Kapanen played for the Flyers from 2002-08.
“I thought they were going to boo me, but it wasn't that bad,” Kasperi Kapanen said.
Projected as the No. 1 European skater by NHL Central Scouting, Kapanen was rated the 10th-best prospect by The Hockey News.
However, a couple of independent scouting services were split on his standing entering the Entry Draft.
Kapanen was the 13th-best prospect as rated by International Scouting Service, but Red Line Report had him at No. 29 overall.
A right-handed shot, Kapanen said his strength is “skating,” but added he was comfortable “playing with the puck.” His defense needs work.
Red Line Report cited the need for Kapanen to improve his “compete level,” though International Scouting Service said he was “not far away from being an effective and well-balanced NHL player.”
Kapanen, 17, surprised the Penguins by being available late in the first round.
Earlier this past week, Rutherford said he would possibly trade the pick. However, by late Friday afternoon, Rutherford said he had not “heard anything that (made) sense.”
“We had him No. 7 on our list,” Rutherford said. “It's not very often you get to draft the son of a player who you also drafted. He reminds me of his dad, but bigger and stronger.”
Rutherford, then the general manager with Hartford, chose Sami Kapanen with the 87th overall pick in the fifth round of the 1995 Entry Draft.
The Kapanens played together last season for KalPa in SM-Liiga, Finland's top league. Kasperi Kapanen produced seven goals and 14 points in 47 games with KalPa.
Though Kapanen said he will try to win a roster spot with the Penguins, he is more likely to spend next season again playing in Finland. If that happens, he should receive suitable help preparing for the NHL from his father.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mears savors success, credits legendary Lange for guidance, inspiration
- Penguins minor league notebook: Pouliot impresses early in season
- Penguins notebook: Penguins getting fewer power-play opportunities
- Penguins notebook: Dupuis’ absence will alter roles on penalty kill
- Fleury denied 300th win as Penguins lose to Islanders in shootout
- Islanders outwork Penguins to sweep back-to-back meetings
- Replacing versatile Dupuis could prove difficult for Penguins
- Penguins defenseman Maatta makes his return in win over Canadiens
- New assistant Agnew has Pens’ PK, defense among league’s best
- Rossi: For Penguins’ Dupuis, family must come first