Sami Lepisto

Sami Lepisto

Hometown:

Espoo Finland

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1984-10-17

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2003

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

Height:

6-0

Acquired:

Trade with Phoenix, 2011

Weight:

180 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • B

History

Lepisto remained pretty much an unknown for hockey followers even in Finland until the 2003-04 season. He hadn’t played a game for a junior national team at any age and was only third in the depth chart of ’84-born Jokerit defenders, behind Mikko Kalteva and Kevin Kantee. He wasn’t eligible for the draft in 2003 due to a problem with his registration papers, but it is unlikely that he would have been picked anyway. 

His breakout year was a phenomenal success story, beginning with taking a regular spot in the lineup of the Jokerit pro team in the fall. He went on not only making the World Junior Championship squad of Team Finland, but also the all-star team of the tournament, as well as winning the trophy presented to the most outstanding defenseman of the tournament. During the spring he emerged as one of the key defensemen of Jokerit in SM-liiga.

3rd round (66th overall), 2004 by Washington.

2005-06: Lepistö was expected to be the leading defenseman, and that he managed to do. In previous seasons, Lepistö had developed stunning offensive skills while taking risks in the own end and now needed to solidify his game. The problem was, with a severely troubled team around him the young defenseman could very well have crashed and burned. He still put up a decent performance and scored 29 points in 56 games, showing improved offensive skills on even strength among other things. Lepistö is expected to sign with the Capitals in the offseason.

2006-07: Lepistö broke his collarbone at the eve of the season and nursed the injury until halfway through the season. The recovery took its time and Lepistö wasn’t quite the player as he was hoped to be after the injury. He tallied ten points in 29 games, while before the injury he had potential to be the league’s top offensive defenseman. The only thing to make of Lepistö’s regular season is that he took no steps forward over the year.

2007-08: After four eventful SM-Liiga seasons with Jokerit – including an injury shortened 2006-2007, Lepisto signed with the Capitals the following season and had a very successful debut with the Hershey Bears (AHL). Paired for much of the season with European hockey veteran Josef Boumedienne, Lepisto was able to create many scoring opportunities – especially on the power play – and finished with a team-best 41 assists to go along with a +29 plus/minus rating. Lepisto made his Capitals debut at the end of the season – appearing in seven games.

2010-11: Lepisto was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2011 NHL trade deadline.

Talent Analysis

Lepisto's main strengths lie in his offensive game. He has good overall puck skills, including an excellent left-handed onetimer. He also has a good vision of the ice. Perhaps his greatest asset is, however, his confidence with the puck, which is rarely seen from a player as young as he is. He is mentally very strong and doesn't seem to mind playing under extreme pressure. While his confidence is mainly an asset, he also has a habit of being over-confident, which sometimes leads to turnovers. His physical development isn't quite on par with his skills, and he needs to further develop his skating and defensive game.