Kapanen during the 2017 NHL playoffs
23 July 1996 |
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)|
|NHL team (P)
|Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Marlies (AHL)
|NHL Draft||22nd overall, 2014
Kasperi Kapanen (born 23 July 1996) is a Finnish professional ice hockey forward currently playing with the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League (AHL) as a prospect for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL). He made his Liiga debut playing with KalPa during the 2012–13 SM-liiga season. Kapanen was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Prior to the NHL lockout in 2004 Sami Kapanen was part of a group that purchased his original junior team KalPa. Having owned the team since, it was no surprise when his son Kasperi made his Bantam debut with KalPa's Under-16, Jr. C SM-Sarja affiliate. The younger Kapanen led the team in goals and was second in points though failed to help them win their playoff qualifier. The following year, as a 15-year-old, Kasperi spent only 8 games on the U16 squad (scoring 16 points in the process) before graduating to KalPa U18 in the Jr. B SM-Sarja level. Kapanen continued his torrid scoring with 24 points in 25 games, finishing second in both goals (13) and points. his third season in Finland's junior system saw more of the same as he swiftly advanced to KalPa U20 in the Jr. A SM-Liiga and posted 29 points in 36 games, again leading the team in goals (14) and finishing fourth in points. During the 2012–13 season he also spent 13 games with KalPa in SM-Liiga, Finland's top professional league, playing alongside his father. At the end of the year Kapanen was selected to play for the Finish National Team on their World Under-18 team in 2013. Kapanen led Finland in goals and was second in points as he helped the team to a bronze medal finish.
Entering his draft year as one of the top European prospects, Kapanen spent most of the season with KalPa, playing against seasoned professionals and still managed to score 7 goals in 47 games for a team that finished dead-last in the league. Kapanen was expected to be an impact player for Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship but was injured in the last practice before the tournament began and was unable to play a single game. The lost opportunity did not, however, affect Kapanen's draft stock as he finished atop both the midseason and final Central Scouting rankings. With KalPa and its Under-20 affiliate both out of the playoffs, Kapanen was sent to KalPa U18 for the end of their season and aided the Jr. B SM-Sarja team in its 3rd-place finish. Kapanen tied for the team lead in playoff goals (6) despite playing in only 4 games. Kapanen found himself on Finland's Under-18 team for a second consecutive year, but the results weren't as encouraging as he managed only 2 points in 5 games as Finland was drubbed out of the quarterfinal round following a 10–0 loss to arch-rival Sweden.
Despite being ranked as the 10th, 13th, and 18th-best overall prospect by several organizations Kapanen had to wait until the 22nd overall selection before hearing his name called, making him the second consecutive Finn taken in the first round by Pittsburgh. Jim Rutherford, the Penguins's general manager, had also drafted Kasperi's father when he was GM of the Hartford Whalers in 1995. On 11 July 2014, Kapanen was signed to a three-year entry-level contract with the Penguins.
At the 2016 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship, Kapanen scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Russia to win the gold medal.
Kapanen began the 2015–16 season with the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. As the youngest player in the league, Kapenen played well in his role on a deep Marlies team that would finish first in league standings. He made his NHL debut on 29 February 2016, against the Tampa Bay Lightning as part of a night where four players would make their debut, including William Nylander. Kapanen would play nine games for the struggling Maple Leafs, recording no points before being returned to the Marlies for a playoff run. Despite finishing as the top seed and being considered one of the best AHL teams to ever take the ice, the Marlies were eliminated in the Conference Finals by the Hershey Bears.
Kapanen returned to the Marlies the following season and quickly became one of their best players. Despite periods of injury, he scored at a pace of a point-a-game before an injury to Maple Leafs forward Nikita Soshnikov resulted in Kapanen being recalled to the Maple Leafs late in the season. Kapenen took a role on the fourth line alongside Brian Boyle and Matt Martin, playing well in limited minutes. He scored his first NHL goal on 8 April 2017 against the Pittsburgh Penguins - the team that initially drafted him. The goal was a vital one in a game that saw the team clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2013, a remarkable feat considering the Maple Leafs finished last in the entire league the previous season. A week later he scored with 8:07 left in double overtime in game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals as his Leafs beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 to tie the series at one game all.
Despite being born in and playing for Kuopio, Kapanen considers himself a Philadelphia native, having spent much of his formative years in the city while his father was playing for the Flyers. Kapanen also lived in Hartford and the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, prior to his father's trade from the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise.
Regular season and Playoffs
|2015–16||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||9||0||0||0||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|2016–17||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||8||1||0||1||0||6||2||0||2||0|
|World U18 Championship|
|World U20 Championship|
- "2012–13 KalPa player statistics". Eliteprospects.com. 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
- Sami Kapanen’s new teammate is his 16-year-old son, making us all feel ancient | Puck Daddy – Yahoo Sports
- "Sami Kapanen". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "KalPa U16 2010–11". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Jr. C SM-Sarja 2010–11". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "KalPa U18 2011–12". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Finland U18 2013". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "2012–13 IIHF World Under-18 Championship". IIHF. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Kasperi Kapanen Draft Profile". NHL.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "SM-Liiga 2013–14". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Top prospect Kapanen out of WJC with injury". NHL.com. 2013-12-21. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "2014 Draft Prospects – European Skaters". NHL.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "KalPa U18 2013–14". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "2013–14 IIHF World Under-18 Statistics". IIHF. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Meet Pittsburgh's 2014 NHL Draft Class". Pittsburgh Penguins. 2014-06-28. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Pittsburgh Penguins sign forward Kasperi Kapanen to entry-level deal". Pittsburgh Penguins. 2014-07-11. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
- "Leafs trade Phil Kessel to Penguins in multi-player deal". NESN. 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- "Pens Get Their Guy in Skilled Winger Kapanen". Pittsburgh Penguins. 2014-06-27. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "KalPa 2012–13 Statistics". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "KalPa 2013–14 Statistics". Elite Prospects. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- Career statistics and player information from NHL.com, or Eliteprospects.com, or Eurohockey.com, or Hockey-Reference.com, or The Internet Hockey Database
|Awards and achievements|
|Pittsburgh Penguins first round draft pick