Welcome to the 16th installment of 'Names To Know', a look-ahead at prospects who the Columbus Blue Jackets could select in the upcoming NHL Draft.
The Blue Jackets have two first-round draft picks—No. 6 and No. 12–giving the club a chance to solidify their young core for now and into the future.
Previous Names To Know
We've covered quite a few names to date but with so many interesting players to select from in a draft that's not considered exceptionally deep, there's no telling which way teams are going to go.
Today we're talking about Austrian-born center, Marco Kasper. Kasper is 6-foot-1, 187 pounds, and features a left-handed shot.
In 2021-22, the 18-year-old Kasper played for Rogle BK J20 where he put up 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 12 games and he added three points (one goal, two assists) in the playoffs.
In 46 games for Rogle BK in the SHL, he scored 11 points (seven goals, four assists) and he had six points (three goals, three assists) in 13 playoff games.
During the covid-shortened world juniors last December, Kasper captained Austria in two games. When the tournament resumes from scratch in August, he will look to hold a similar leadership role. Kasper participated in the just-completed World Championship in which he had two assists in seven games.
In their first appearance in the Champions HL tournament, Rogle BK won the title over Tappara, with Kasper scoring six points (two goals, four assists) in 12 games.
Mock draft models have Kasper slated to go in the middle-to-later stages of the first round in the upcoming NHL Draft but a strong showing during the World Championship could have him going higher as The Athletic's Corey Pronman noted on May 17. NHL.com has him going to Columbus with the 12th selection.
Marco Kasper is probably a candidate for the top-12 at the draft now. His last performances have been impressive and he plays a gritty style that NHL teams love. (Should have listened to @jimmyhamrin...)— David St-Louis (@DavidSt_Louis) May 16, 2022
The Athletic's Scott Wheeler wrote about the 64 top draft prospects in February and shared a quote from Rogle BK general manager, Chris Abbott, on Kasper.
“(Kasper) is one of those rare young players that combines a many-years-older maturity with a youthful tenacity to work at getting better at his craft each day,” Abbott said. “He has a very high degree of hockey intelligence, both at the tight area one-on-one level but all the big picture, team structure perspective.
“(Kasper's) body continues to fill out and become stronger, allowing him to compete effectively as a regular in the SHL at only 17 years old — often a good indication of a player’s NHL potential. Super mature. Super disciplined. Takes information and makes adjustments. Doesn’t make the same mistake again. Very cerebral.”
Draft eligible forward Marco Kasper named Austria's player of the game in today's match vs USA.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) May 15, 2022
In March, Pronman ranked Kasper as his twelfth-best prospect. For his updated write-up on May 31, Kasper continues to trend upward as Pronman now lists him ninth, and as a projected bubble top and middle-of-the-lineup player. Kasper's NHL comparable is Sam Bennett.
Analysis: 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.
|NHL.com||12th * To Columbus|