Kapanen to Join Finnish World Juniors Camp Next Week

The preliminary rosters for the World Junior camps continue to pour in, and it looks like host nation of the tournament will have some Leafs content after all.

Finland has announced their roster today (link in Finnish), and included on it is Kasperi Kapanen. 

It seemed unlikely that the Leafs would keep one of their top prospects from playing in a premiere tournament in his home country, but without confirmation and with the unique handling of players by Lou Lamoriello, you couldn’t assume with 100% certainty.

Kapanen hasn’t had an ideal start to the season for the Marlies, picking up nine points in his first 15 games this season, and while that’s far from terrible, Nylander has set a rather high bar for 19 year olds on the team. 

Where Nylander looks like he’ll be above the competition whether he plays in the AHL or the World Juniors, Kapanen is a player who likely needs to spend more time in the AHL to develop into a future top six NHLer, and the World Juniors might be viewed as a break in that development.

Of course, it’s just a few weeks and the Marlies are in a good spot, so let the kid for his country.

The rest of the Finnish camp roster looks like this

Goaltenders:
Kaapo Kahkonen, Blues Espoo (Liiga)
Emil Larmi, Peliitat Heinola (Mestis)
Veini Vehvilainen, JYP Jyvaskyla (Liiga)

Defensemen:
Olli Juolevi, London Knights (OHL)
Miro Keskitalo, TPS Turku (Liiga)
Jesper Mattila, Ilves Tampere (Liiga)
Niko Mikkola, KalPa Kuopio (Liiga)
Sami Niku, JYP Jyvaskyla (Liiga)
Vili Saarijarvi, Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Robin Salo, Vaasan Sport (Liiga)
Eetu Sopanen, Peliitat Heinola (Mestis)
Joni Tuulola, HPK Hameenlinna (Liiga)
Urho Vaakanainen, Espoo Blues (Liiga)

Forwards: 

Sebastian Aho, Karpat Oulu (Liiga)
Kasper Bjorkqvist, Espoo Blues (Liiga)
Roope Hintz, HIFK Helsinki (Liiga)
Antti Kalapudas, Karpat Oulu (Liiga)
Patrik Laine, Tappara Tampere (Liiga)
Juho Lammikko, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Miro Makinen, Jukurit Mikkeli (Mestis)
Julius Nattinen, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Jesse Puljujarvi, Karpat Oulu (Liiga)
Sebastian Repo, Pelicans Lahti (Liiga)
Aleksi Saarela, Assat Pori (Liiga)
Miska Siikonen, Pelicans Lahti (Liiga)
Jonne Tammela, KalPa Kuopio (Liiga)
Patrik Virta, TPS Turku (Liiga)

The names Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi should leap out at everyone, as they are potential top five picks in the draft this season and along with Kapanen will be important for Leafs fans to watch. Both are wingers with size who could compliment one of the Leafs center prospects.

The fact that Finland has a 16 year old in the tournament certainly should make Vaakanainen a player to watch as well. It’s never too early to start thinking about the 2017 Draft.

Finland has put together a solid roster that is very capable of competing for the gold on their home soil and with Kapanen being one of their more experienced players it’s a good opportunity to see what he can do with significant ice time on a scoring line against what should be some good competition in the games against Russia, and maybe the Czechs.

  • Gary Empey

    he’ll do very well this year. he has gained some confidence back after coming back from injury/illness this year. the world juniors will be in his country this year so he’ll be home and comfortable. he always performs well at home so let’s hope he’s one of the leading scorers! let’s see why he was the main return in the kessel deal once and for all…