Kasperi Kapanen To Return To Pittsburgh?


The Pittsburgh Penguins have dealt with an absurd amount of injuries this season (as usual). Presently, only Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin remain from the top six the Penguins started the season with. Players like Steve Downie, Nick Spaling and Blake Comeau are lining up with the Penguins’ superstars. In fact, a fourth of the starting lineup are players who have been called up from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

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Obviously as time passes players should return from their respective injuries. However, if the team remains plagued with injuries and additional forwards end up going down we could see a new face in the Penguins locker room.

During the first round of the 2014 of the NHL entry draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins selected wing Kasperi Kapanen. He is the son of former NHL player Sami Kapanen and appears to actually be a more talented player. Through the Penguins training camp and preseason, Kasperi Kapanen not only impressed fans, but coach Mike Johnston as well. However at the end of the preseason it was decided to send Kapanen back to his professional league in Finland.

If the Penguins continue suffering injuries it is not crazy to think that Kasperi Kapanen could return the Pittsburgh this season. In the KalPa, Kapanen has played sixteen games this season and has produced a point per game (9 G – 7 A).

It seems that the Pittsburgh Penguins have always been a team that tries to wait and develop their talent before bringing them to the big stage. Kasperi Kapanen might be asked to skip that development phase.

Oct 14, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) during their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Avalanche 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Within the last few season, it has become commonplace for teams to utilize their young draft picks very shortly after selecting them. Most of the time these young players thrive even at such a young age. Examples can be found on virtually any team, look at the Nashville Predators’ Seth Jones. The season following his drafting, he was suiting up with the Predators and has been thriving ever since. Another example is the Calder Memorial Trophy winning center Nathan Mackinnon who played his first season with the Colorado Avalanche. Despite being just 18 years old Mackinnon lead the Avalanche to the playoffs and produced 63 points (24 G – 39 A) while playing in all 82 games.

Another example very close to home is our own Olli Maatta. Maatta was drafted in 2012 and was relatively unknown before the 2013 season. Then during the training camp before the 2013 season Maatta impressed enough to merit a spot on the team and has not looked back since.

Kasperi Kapanen might be exactly what the Pittsburgh Penguins need to continue their dominance. Only time will tell if Rutherford will be willing to call in help from Finland.