Deeper in the (projected) first round, there will be prospects that might not hit that ceiling of a top-line forward or someone to munch on as many minutes as they can on the blue line, but just extremely solid with a capital “S” prospects that coaches would die for. Austrian forward Marco Kasper, standing at 6-foot-2, has one of the most coach-friendly approaches to the game in the entire draft and you just know that some team is going to love having this sturdy player in their middle-six for years to come, if everything ends up going correctly.
While other top prospects like Simon Nemec and David Jiricek have been heralded for their ability to play at the top professional level in Slovakia and Czechia, Kasper has been able to play a total of forty-six games in the Swedish Hockey League, arguably the third-best league in the world in terms of talent. He only put up 11 points during that time, but it was still enough to keep on getting minutes for Rögle.
All that should come together into a prospect that a lot of teams will be comfortable walking away with as their prize for keeping their first-round pick.
BSH 2022 Community Draft Board, No. 19: Marco Kasper
Team: Rögle BK (SHL)/Rögle BK U20 (J20 Nationell)
Statistics: 7 G, 4 A in 46 GP (SHL) and 6 G, 7 A in 12 GP (J20)
No. 5 (EU skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 17 by McKenzie/TSN (midseason)
No. 19 by Dobber Prospects (April)
No. 24 by Wheeler/The Athletic
What’s there to like?
If you like your prospects to be praised for their “hockey intelligence” and their “mature” approach to the game, then Kasper is your dude. He might not surprise anyone with a one-man talent show, but there is a future big-league player in there that every single team needs to compete for the Cup. Not the sexiest style of play, but Kaspar can play with enough pace at the professional level to keep up and has enough of a passing game to make his teammates better around him.
Generally, he might just blossom into someone that can be reliable no matter where they play, in all situations, and make your team better for it.
What’s not to like?
There are a couple things that might make teams pause and explain why he isn’t projected to go in the top half of the first round by everybody. Kaspar’s skating isn’t the best, as he has a bit of a hunch in his stride, but it is extremely fixable with an NHL-level skating coach, so that shouldn’t be of too much concern. But, interestingly enough, discovered by someone that actually watched him play hockey this season, The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler points out that even though the prospect is listed as a center by the majority of scouting services, Kaspar played almost the entirety of his season on the wing.
Now, this comes down to draft strategy and preferability, but if there is a player that simply works hard as a winger and can solidify a middle-six, but not down the middle, teams should probably be confident that they can develop him into being more than just a Scott Laughton (I know, he can play center, but I’m talking about ability) that was also drafted in the first round.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
The Philadelphia Flyers have a bounty of wingers in the prospect pool, but not enough to turn your nose up at someone that could realistically make the NHL within a year or two. They have one-dimensional snipers, and some solid gritty wingers; so maybe this can be like a playmaking version of a grinding winger, but it is a unique dimension that any team could use more of.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
With the fifth overall pick, drafting Kaspar would be a Tyler Boucher-esque reach, but I mean, it’s not out of the question. If they end up trading someone like Ivan Provorov and nabbed their own late first-rounder, then this dude could for sure be drafted by Philadelphia.
We’ll make one addition to the poll:
Who should be no. 21 on the 2022 Community Draft Board?
This poll is closed
— LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL) — 1 G, 1 P in 25 GP
He has one of the highest floors in the 2022 class, best demonstrated by his rapid release, mobility, and vision. His versatility as an offensive weapon is one of his best assets. He consistently executes accurate and creative passes in all zones and has a nose for scoring areas around the net. Additionally, his shot is among the best in the draft. His most impressive goals are those from the slot or inner halves of the faceoff circles when he gets to let his quick wrister fly, but the majority of his goals are scored at the net-front.
While Öhgren hasn’t achieved the level of success in the SHL that one would expect to see from a player with such outstanding J20 numbers, his ability to beat opponents – goalies and defencemen alike – should be expected to translate. He may not have first line potential but the team that drafts him will likely be getting a high-pace, creative middle-six winger. — Alexa Potack, Dobber Prospects
1. Shane Wright — C, Kingston (OHL)
2. Juraj Slafkovský — LW, TPS (Liiga)
3. Logan Cooley — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
4. Simon Nemec — D, HK Nitra (Slovakia)
5. Matthew Savoie — C, Winnipeg (OHL)
6. David Jiricek — D, HC Plzeň (Czechia)
7. Joakim Kemell — W, JYP (Liiga)
8. Conor Geekie — C, Winnipeg (OHL)
9. Frank Nazar — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
T-10. Brad Lambert — C, JYP/Pelicans (Liiga)
T-10. Cutter Gauthier — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
12. Ivan Miroshnichenko — LW, Omskie Krylia (VHL)
13. Jonathan Lekkerimaki — RW, Djurgårdens IF (Ligga)
14. Danila Yurov — RW, Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
15. Isaac Howard — LW, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
16. Pavel Mintyukov — D, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
17. Jimmy Snuggerud — RW, US NTDP (USDP/USHL)
18. Rutger McGroarty — LW, US NTDP (USDP/USHL)
19. Marco Kasper — C, Rogle BK (SHL)