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2022 Draft Prospect Profile: Marco Kasper is the year’s top European center

Smart, hard-working could fit the Jackets’ style

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Austria v Finland: Preliminary Round Group A - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

The first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft is tomorrow, y’all! The Columbus Blue Jackets pick at #6 and #12. Could this player be one of their selections?

Marco Kasper

Position: C
Team: Roge BK (SHL)
Date of Birth: August 8, 2004
Birthplace: Innsbruck, Austria
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 187 lbs
Shoots: Left

Rankings

Ranked #16 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #12 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #16 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #10 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #24 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #17 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #5 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #8 by SPORTSNET
Ranked #12 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #19 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
Ranked #18 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
Ranked #23 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
Ranked #31 by SMAHT SCOUTING
Ranked #19 by THE PUCK AUTHORITY

2021-22 Stats

Games Played: 46
Goals: 7
Assists: 4
Points: 11
PIM: 17
Plus/Minus: -10

Much of my focus leading up to this draft is the top North American prospects, but we shouldn’t sleep on a European center who could very well go in the top 10. Kasper comes from Austria, which has produced 16 NHLers but lags behind its increasingly competitive neighbors, Germany and Switzerland. The Jackets have assembled recent rosters with players from smaller hockey nations like France, Denmark, and Latvia. Why not add another?

That being said, the reason Kasper is ranked higher is that he has spent the last two seasons playing tougher competition in Sweden. His stats are good in the junior ranks, though not spectacular in the SHL, Sweden’s top pro league. But just reaching that league as a 17 year old is impressive. After just 11 points in 46 regular season games, he turned it on in the playoffs with 3/3/6 in 13 games.

Scouting Reports

Perhaps above all, Kasper possesses what Rögle BK Ängelholm coach Cam Abbott calls “a great engine,” which made him a valued member of their top Swedish Hockey League pro club and, potentially, of an NHL team. Add in adaptability to what Abbott needs out of Kasper in a system that stresses 200-foot play, and you have a player who coaches can readily trust.

“He’s a smart player,” said Abbott, who first met Kasper at the end of 2019. “Very smart. He competes really hard. … He’s not one to force his skill set on the team. He has a very selfless way of playing. When that is the case for whatever team he’s playing for – and he transported the puck more even for us this season – with his feet moving, his skill level is going to show even greater than I think it did this year. But that wasn’t what was going to get him in those positions and the ice time he was looking for in the way that we needed to win.

“I think the skill level is 100 percent there. In my opinion, the finish rate — and when he gets in those situations more, it’s going to show well.” - reported by Eric Stephens, The Athletic

Kasper was easy to spot even in SHL games because of how powerful an athlete he is. He would often be the guy to wind it up in his own end to carry the puck due to his great speed and skill. Kasper has a strong 6-foot-1 frame, isn’t afraid to attack the hard areas, and can win some battles versus men as a 17-year-old. Kasper attacks with speed and skill, and while he can pull up to make a play or use his hard shot, his direct style of play will translate to the NHL. He projects as a quality top two line center. - Corey Pronman, The Athletic

Kasper is one of my favorite prospects in this class. He has everything that you want in a power forward. The grit, the decision making and the speed. Kasper has the potential to be a top six forward in the NHL and his grit will intrigue plenty of teams. If a NHL team is looking to obtain a well-rounded power forward who can be annoying in high danger situations with his reach, Kasper is the guy. - Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting

Highlights