The Pittsburgh Penguins have reportedly signed 2014 first round pick Kasperi Kapanen (22nd overall) to a three-year, entry-level deal, according to the Pens’ Twitter handle.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 11, 2014
Playing for KalPa Kuopio (SM-liiga) in the Finnish Elite League (FEL) last season, Kapanen recorded 14 points (7G, 7A) in 47 contests, and was expected to be drafted within the top-10 of the draft; however, due to a shoulder injury and a mediocre 2013-14 campaign, organizations may have shied away from taking the talented Fin.
Kapanen isn’t too big – 5-foot-11, 180-pounds – and will need to focus on adding more mass before he experiments his skills at the NHL level. Previously selecting defenseman Olli Maatta with the 22nd overall pick back in 2012, Pittsburgh was probably thinking why not take another Fin? It worked out well last time (Maatta).
Nonetheless, Kapanen is projected to become a top-six forward when it’s all said-and-done, and will compete for a roster spot this September. While there’s an outside chance he’ll make the team, it’s probably for feasible to believe he’ll be skating in Finland again next season.
In 60 FEL games, Kapanen’s registered 18 points (11G, 7A), and added an assist in four playoff tilts.