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Top Euros eye NHL next season or will play at home

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- It appears it will be the NHL or Europe next season for NHL Central Scouting's top two European skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Kasperi Kapanen of KalPa in Finland and William Nylander of Sodertalje in Sweden's second division both said they would like to play in the NHL in 2014-15. If not, they would rather play against more developed opponents in their home countries rather than play junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League.

Nylander, Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked European player, played with three teams this season, including Rogle in Sweden's second division, where his teammate was his father, former NHL player Michael Nylander. He also played for Modo in the Swedish Hockey League, but had his most success with second-division team Sodertalje, totaling 11 goals and eight assists in 17 games. He is eligible for the 2014 CHL Import Draft next month, but said junior hockey isn't a consideration.

If he's not in the NHL, he'll spend next season with Modo.

"I say junior hockey is past now," Nylander said. "Right now it's men's hockey that is on my agenda. I think junior hockey would have been something I would have done [in 2013-14]. Right now I think men's hockey is the way to go."

Kapanen is signed for two more seasons with KalPa in Liiga, Finland's top league. Central Scouting's No. 1 European skater, Kapanen had seven goals and seven assists in 47 games, numbers that were curtailed by a shoulder injury, and said he could jump to the NHL if the team that drafts him wants him. The CHL, however, isn't really an option when he can stay at home and play against older, more developed men.

"I can go the NHL, but the junior stuff I'm not sure about," he said. "I feel comfortable playing in my hometown."


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