The season hasn't even begun yet, but the first new injury disclosure is here. 2014 first round pick Kasperi Kapanen won't be going to Ottawa for the prospect tournament. From the Trib:
The team announced Monday morning that Kapanen will miss the tournament because of an injury he suffered earlier this summer — but should be ready for the start of training camp next weekend.
Kapanen was taken 22nd overall in the June draft. The rookies' first game at Budweiser Gardens is Saturday against Ottawa at 2 p.m.
Kapanen, though only 18, turned more than a few heads at the team's development camp over the summer and appears to have at least a somewhat realistic shot of making the roster.
It's not the biggest deal to miss a rookie tournament, and better to rest up for big-boy camp if he's hurting, but the fact that Kapanen isn't 100% before has to be a big blow to the already slim chance he had to make the NHL roster.
And, without the highly skilled Kapanen, the Pens 14 remaining rookies forwards don't inspire a lot of confidence with their skill level, with now probably Anton Zlobin being the top guy, ability wise. But, on the brighter side, with one less player available, that's more ice and opportunity for the other prospects to get the chance to make something of it.
That said, we'll see how much of a push for a roster spot Kapanen can make now. The Penguins really only have 4 chiseled-in-stone for their top six (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist) with veteran Pascal Dupuis not year cleared for full contact/participation. Beau Bennett and Steve Downie could be in the mix too for what should be pretty fluid third members of those top lines.
Kapanen would only have stuck if he clearly, totally proved that he would help the team to the point where they just couldn't afford to send him back (ala Olli Maatta last fall, or Jordan Staal back in 2006). He may still have the chance to do it, but at less than 100% right now, those long odds have gotten even longer yet.