When you examine the Leafs system, there's now three clear names that standout. There's 2014 first round pick (eight overall), William Nylander. There's 2015 first round pick (fourth overall), Mitch Marner.
And now there's 2014 twenty-second overall selection Kasperi Kapenen, a player I had ranked at No. 10 in my final top 60 ranking heading into the 2014 draft.
Kapenen, a creative offensive winger, usurps prospects Connor Brown and Brendan Leipsic on the depth chart.
A standout with KalPa heading into the 2014 draft, Kapenen is coming off an erratic season, highlight by two strong playoff performances (one with KalPa and one with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins of the AHL) and low lighted by an underwhelming U20 performance with Team Finland where he struggled to produce quality chances.
Eased into a top-six role with Wilkes-Barre, Kapanen's AHL career began with limited usage.
Kapanen, who can get caught playing on the perimeter, has the skill to be an effective top-six winger on his puck carrying ability alone.
His best asset, his puck handling, allows him to create chances off the rush or in quick transition in the offensive zone.
Dangerous one-on-one because of deft stick handling and high-end awareness cross-ice, Kapenen has made waves in Liiga for his highlight reel plays.
Notice Kapanen's excellent edge work on his crossovers to create speed off the rush here:
Unafraid to play physical, Kapanen can be seen breaking up a play in the defensive zone with a big hit before turning the other way for the end-to-end goal with a through-the-legs finish. Watch the amazing individual effort here: