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Pens bring ’14 first-rounder Kapanen to North America

Kasperi Kapanen, Jared Spurgeon

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Kasperi Kapanen (42) goes into the corner with Minnesota Wild’s Jared Spurgeon (46) during the second period of a NHL preseason hockey game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


Interesting transaction out of Pittsburgh -- the Penguins have announced that Kasperi Kapanen, their first-round pick (22nd overall) at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, has been reassigned from his club team in Finland to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Kapanen, 18, makes the move after scoring 11 goals and 21 points in 40 contests for KalPa, who were recently eliminated from the SM-liiga playoffs.

The move will be one to watch as Kapanen’s regarded as one of the club’s brightest young prospects. This summer, Pens assistant GM Bill Guerin said the Finnish forward was “even better than I thought he would be,” adding, “he’s already a pro.”

Pens head coach Mike Johnston later proclaimed that Kapanen had a chance to crack the opening-night lineup, and the club kept him around right until the start of the regular season before ultimately returning him to Finland.

The rumblings now, of course, are that Pittsburgh wants to see Kapanen play some AHL contests before deciding if he’s ready to join the parent club for the Stanley Cup playoffs. While Kapanen’s only 18 and has yet to play a regular-season game on North American soil, he does have extensive experience playing against men at the professional level -- the son of longtime NHLer Sami Kapanen, Kasperi has been playing in the SM-liiga since he was 16.