Kasperi Kapanen was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round (22nd overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He’s a hockey blueblood, the son of Sami Kapanen, who played 13 seasons with the Hartford Whalers, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Kasperi’s Kapanen’s Father Had a Strong NHL Career
Sami Kapanen was known for his speed, skill, and offensive abilities. Playing in his native Finland, he was a four-time Finnish Liiga champion and regularly played for the national team. He was also an NHL All-Star and was known for his 200-foot game. In 831 NHL games, he scored 189 goals and added 269 assists (458 points).
Kasperi possessed many of the same qualities. In fact, Sami helped hone his son’s skills, coming out of retirement to play on the same line as his 16-year-old son during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons with KalPa Kuopio of the SM-Liiga.
Kapanen Didn’t Play for the Penguins (At Least Not at First)
Although the younger Kapanen was drafted by the Penguins, he didn’t suit up for the team at all before he was traded on July 1, 2015, with Nick Spaling, Scott Harrington, a first-round pick in the 2016 Draft (who turned out to be Sam Steel,) and a third-round pick in the 2016 Draft (who turned out to be J.D. Greenway) to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Phil Kessel, Tim Erixon, Tyler Biggs, and a conditional second-round pick in the 2016 Draft (who turned out to be Kasper Bjorkqvist).
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Kapanen played for the Maple Leafs until Dec. 3, 2020, when he was traded back to the team that drafted him. Specifically, Pontus Aberg and Jesper Lindgren moved with Kapanen to the Penguins for David Warsofsky, Evan Rodrigues, Filip Hallander, and a first-round pick in the 2020 Draft (who turned out to be Rodion Amirov).
Kapanen’s Time with the Maple Leafs
Kapanen had a solid career with the Maple Leafs. He scored his first goal during the 2016-17 season (in eight games). The next season, he scored seven goals and two assists (in 38 games). However, his breakthrough season came during the 2018-2019 season, when he scored 20 goals and 24 assists (for 44 points) in 78 games – unfortunately, he’s never hit the 20-goal milestone again.]
As Maple Leafs fans will remember, Kapanen got his big chance during the 2018-19…