The Pittsburgh Penguins signed 2014 first round draft pick Kasperi Kapanen to a three-year entry-level contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
The contract will begin when Kapanen turns professional.
Kapanen, a 17-year-old forward, was the Penguins 22nd overall selection in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. He was the No. 1-rated European skater by NHL Central Scouting after finishing with seven goals, seven assists and 14 points in 47 games for KalPa in Finland’s top professional league.
Kapanen made his Finnish League debut with KalPa at just 16 years old in 2012-13 where he posted 4 goals in 13 games.
Kapanen is the son of long-time NHL player Sami Kapanen, who had 458 career points in 831 NHL regular-season games. The two Kapanens were teammates this year with KalPa.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford drafted Kasperi’s father, Sami, in the fourth round (87th overall) in the 1995 NHL Draft when he was the GM of the Hartford Whalers.
Kapanen was ranked as the 10th-overall prospect by The Hockey News; 13th-overall by International Scouting Services; and 18th-overall by McKeen's Hockey.
The 6-foot, 180-pound Kapanen has starred internationally many times for Finland, scoring five goals at the 2013 World Under-18 Championships, including the game-winning marker in the bronze-medal game.
The native of Kuopio, Finland served as an alternate captain at the 2013 World Under-17 Challenge where he led Finland in scoring with nine points (3G-6A).
Kapanen was also selected to play for Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship, but he was unable to suit up due to injury. Finland went on to win the gold medal.
Kasperi Kapanen’s grandfather, Hannu Kapanen, was a forward for five seasons with Jokerit and HIFK of the Finnish Elite League, and also played for Finland at the 1976 Canada Cup and 1976 Olympics.