Montreal Canadiens Prospect Oliver Kapanen Invited to Finland’s World Junior Camp

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 26: Oliver Kapanen. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 26: Oliver Kapanen. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens prospects Oliver Kapanen, Jan Mysak and Kaiden Guhle were supposed to partake in the 2022 World Juniors tournament back in December and January.

The event was cancelled after a couple of days and a few positive Covid tests on different teams. Cancelled may be the wrong word, as the event was indefinitely postponed until a summer event was announced about a month later.

Now, teams have to decide who will take part in the 2022 World Juniors. The tournament will be played in Edmonton, Alberta, but it will be from August 9th – 20th instead of around the holidays like usual. This may lead NHL teams to try and convince their prospects not to attend.

Take Kaiden Guhle for example. He is playing the Memorial Cup right now after winning a WHL championship with the Edmonton Oil Kings. The last game of that tournament won’t be played until June 29th since it was postponed due to the pandemic.

If Guhle plays until the second last day of June, and then heads to Canada’s World Junior camp in late July, he won’t have much time off at all this summer. To go from the gold medal game at the World Juniors on August 20th to NHL training camp less than a month later would make it difficult on anyone who is about to embark on their first pro season.

The same could possibly be said for Jan Mysak. He is going to turn 20 tomorrow so he is eligible to play in the AHL next season. It’s not ideal to have him play in the World Juniors in the middle of August, especially since he is also playing in the Memorial Cup this week. But, he is less likely to be pushing to play in the NHL, so he has less to lose be playing in the World Juniors.

The one Habs prospect who will surely be back at take two of the 2022 tournament is Oliver Kapanen. The Finnish centre was a second round pick of the Habs in 2021. He split last season between three leagues in Finland, scoring four points in 18 games at the top level. He added four points in eight games in Mestis which is their AHL.

Kapanen really shone at the Junior level, where he scored seven goals and 15 points in 11 regular season games. He then had 11 points in ten postseason contests for Kalpa.

He was on Finland’s World Junior team but had no points in two games before the shutdown. He played a middle six centre two-way role for them, and it sounds like he will be expected to do the same in August. He was officially invited to their main camp yesterday, as Finland announced a “main roster” as well as a “challenge team” for camp in case anyone is not performing on the main team.

It will be interesting to see if any of the top players from Finland opt out of the event. If Roni Hirvonen or Aatu Raty decide to focus on getting ready for NHL training camps instead it could open up a bigger role for Kapanen.

It’s unlikely that they would choose not to play at this point, but definitely something worth keeping an eye on.

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