Friday Insider: Open mind, spot for Kapanen

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="623"] PHOTO-ILLUSTRATION -- ALEX MESSMER[/caption]


fridayinsiderA weekly feature aimed at rounding up a whole lot of odds and ends from a whole lot of time spent around our local teams …

Kasperi Kapanen is a child by any professional sports standard at age 18 years, three months. But he also just might be in the Penguins' opening-night lineup Thursday against the Ducks, based on what I'm told from on high inside the organization.

Imagine that, huh?

It's not just Kapanen's age that would be impressive about the situation but also the fact he was taken No. 22 overall in the June draft. That, of course, doesn't necessarily mean the 21 ahead of him won't someday surpass him. Prospects develop at a different pace, and forwards have the easiest assimilation into the NHL. But it does mean Jim Rutherford and staff look dead-on in the unbridled joy they displayed that night in Philadelphia on the draft floor. And I mean, you should have heard what they were saying off the record. They flat-out love the kid.

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