The Penguins concluded their prospect camp with a scrimmage today, and a lot of buzz afterwards was on top pick Kasperi Kapanen who showed all week why he’s the consensus No. 1 forward prospect in the Penguins system.
The question now is whether Kapanen can force his way onto the NHL roster like Olli Maatta was able to do last fall.
“He’s even better than I thought he would be,” assistant GM Bill Guerin said. “I was very happy. He’s a high end talent, high end speed, very mature kid for his age……. Got a little screen shot of what’s to come and he’s not even 18 yet.”
Guerin agreed that he thinks that Kapanen has a shot to earn a roster spot in camp, though, most scouts we hear from believe he’s a year or two away and needs to get stronger.
One positive aspect of Kapanen’s game at such a young age is that he’s not a perimeter player.
“Going to net that’s where you score goals,” Kapanen said afterwards. “Type of mindset I try to give myself.”
Among others who caught Guerin’s attention today included Adam Payerl.
“Adam Payerl did [play well], he’s big, physical kid,” Guerin said.
Payerl a big strong power forward who can skate and uses his body well, is the type of player the Penguins lack in their bottom-6 and if he can bring consistency to the table, he could put himself in contention for one of the final roster spots.
As we’ve been writing about this week, defenseman Jeff Taylor, Penguins 2014 7th round, has performed very well and he’s impressed the Penguins brass all week. “Jeff Taylor, d-man, really stuck out,” Guerin said. “He plays a good smart game.”
Guerin also specifically pointed out the play of Matia Marcantuoni, JS Dea and Bryan Rust today. “Marcantuoni…..speed was very evident,” Guerin said. “Bryan Rust was very good…..JS Dea played well.”
Payerl, Marcantuoni and Troy Joseph’s were very effective as a line and Joseph’s tallied two goals and added the shootout winner for Team White.