Kapanen the best NHL-affiliated forward prospect coming out of Finland’s Liiga

by Tony Piscotta
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Kasperi Kapanen - Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins forward prospect Kasperi Kapanen had a somewhat disappointing 2014-15 season in Finland’s Liiga but finished well competing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL playoffs (courtesy of Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire)

Liiga has steadily seen some of the top young forward prospects in Finland head elsewhere rather than pursuing careers in the nation’s top domestic pro league. That happened once again in 2014-15 as two of the heroes from the 2014 World Juniors — KalPa Kuopio left wing Artturi Lehkonen (Montreal) and Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago), Liiga’s sixth-leading scorer skating for Jokerit in 2013-14 — are no longer playing in Finland. Read more»

2015 World Championship: Interviews with Finland’s Esa Lindell and Switzerland’s Kevin Fiala and Roman Josi

by Chapin Landvogt
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Kevin Fiala - Team Switzerland - 2015 IIHF World Championship

Photo: Team Switzerland forward and Nashville Predators prospect Kevin Fiala (#21) appeared in 33 games for Nashville’s AHL farm team, the Milwaukee Admirals, where he scored 11 goals and 20 points in 2014-15 (courtesy of Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Dallas Stars prospect Esa Lindell is coming off a career year in which the 6’3”, 200 pound defenseman put up 14 goals and 35 points in 57 games. This was good enough to not only earn him a spot on Team Finland at the 2015 IIHF World Championship, but also got him a cup of coffee with the AHL’s Texas Stars to conclude the season. Read more»

2015 World Championship: Interviews with Finland linemates Aleksander Barkov and Joonas Donskoi

by Chapin Landvogt
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Aleksander Barkov - Team Finland - 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

Photo: Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov (#16) notched four goals and three assists for Team Finland at the 2015 IIHF World Championship (courtesy of Matej Divizna/Getty Images)

Finland took on host Czech Republic in the quarterfinals of the 2015 IIHF World Championship, a game won by the Czechs, 5-3.

A trio of Team Finland players spent time before the game vs. the Czech Republic talking about a few of the things in their hockey lives. Read more»

NHL Draft Primer: Samsonov tops among European goalies, fan favorites not far behind

by David Hahn
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Denis Godla - Team Slovakia

Photo: HK Orange 20 goaltender and 2015 prospect Denis Godla led his country to a bronze medal at the 2015 U20 World Junior Championship, where he was named that tournament’s Best Goaltender (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

As the focus shifts to European goaltending, there are a bevy of top talents available, but a few lingering fan favorites may have an opportunity to hear their name called at the 2015 NHL Draft. Among them, Ilya Samsonov leads the pack, with a pair of talented Czechs not far behind him. Those who attended or watched the 2015 World Junior Championship should recognize fan favorites George Sorensen and Denis Godla, two of a strong list of European options in net in this week’s NHL Draft Primer. Read more»

Off The Radar: Trio of international skaters, Kootenay standout, and oft-injured goaltender push for NHL attention

by David Hahn
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Ahti Oksanen - Boston University

Photo: Boston University junior forward/defenseman Ahti Oksanen was ranked 66th among European skaters for the 2012 NHL Draft, but was never drafted (courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)

Front offices in the National Hockey League withhold many secrets, none that garner more speculation than why respective member clubs pass on draft-eligible players. Whether it’s concerns over size, injuries, production, or their interest level in playing in the league, there’s always an opportunity for a player to overcome those shortcomings in order to earn a chance the second time around. Read more»

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