Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Marco Kasper Scouting Report.
Austria has never been considered a hockey hotbed, but there have been some good prospects out of the country. Following in the footsteps of Thomas Vanek and Marco Rossi is the latest Austrian prospect, Marco Kasper. He played for his country in the World Juniors this year, appearing in two games before the tournament was cut short and postponed due to COVID. He also played in the World Championships, picking up two assists in seven games so far.
Kasper plays his club hockey for Rogle BK in the Swedish Hockey League. He scored seven goals and four assists for 11 points in 46 games. Kasper led all under-18 players in the SHL. He also added three goals and three assists for six points in 13 playoff games. On the European stage, Kasper helped Rogle to a Champions Hockey League title. He scored two goals and four assists for six points in 12 tournament games. Kasper also spent some time in the Swedish junior league. He put up six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 12 games in the J20. He also added a goal and two assists for three points in the playoffs.
Marco Kasper Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Left
Born April 8th, 2004 — Innsbruck, Austria
Height 6’1″ — Weight 183 lbs [185 cm/83 kg]
Kasper is a very good skater. His ability to play the game at pace in both directions helps him to play a 200-foot game. He has very good speed and acceleration in both directions. Kasper also has very good agility and edgework. His lateral movement allows him to get away from defenders and find open space on the rush and in the offensive zone. It also helps him to stay with his man and forces him to the outside when helping out in the defensive zone. Kasper already has good strength and balance for his age. This should only improve as he continues to mature and get stronger. He is able to win battles on the boards and in front of the net.
Kasper uses his size to play a power-forward style of game. He loves to drive the puck to the front of the net and it is in those dirty areas of the ice that he scores the majority of his points. As he continues to get stronger, this aspect of his game should only improve. He has the hands and instincts to finish plays close to the net. He can pounce on rebounds, get deflections, and quickly one-time a teammates pass into the net. Kasper establishes his position and creates havoc in front of the net. Kasper can use some work on his shot though. He could improve the power on his wrist and snapshot. This may come with added muscle on his frame. His release is decent, but the lack of power on his shot means that when he shoots from distance, goalies are able to make easy saves.
Kasper uses his speed to get in quickly on the forecheck and cause turnovers. He pressures defenders and forces them to make plays before they are ready. He also does a good job of winning battles along the boards and in front of the net. Kasper controls the puck well down low. His short, quick passes and ability to protect the puck allow him to control possession in the cycle game. Kasper has decent vision and passing skills. He is able to find the open man and set up scoring chances. Kasper can continue to work on his puck handling skills though. Instead of trying to make a play on a defender, he is quick to keep the puck moving and look for the return pass.
Kasper is a very good defensive player. He is a smart and responsible player. He is often the third man high in the offensive zone, helping him to get back and support the defence against the rush. Kasper also does a good job of working down low and defending against the cycle game. Kasper has an active stick. This allows him to intercept passes as well as to create turnovers with a poke check. Once a turnover is created, Kasper is quick to transition the puck up the ice and start the transition with a quick, accurate pass. His hockey IQ is high. Kasper reads the play and puts himself in smart positions to defend. He is also good in the faceoff circle.
Projection and Comparison
Kasper is a relatively safe prospect. He has the size, defensive game, and skating ability to play a bottom-six role in the NHL. There are some questions if he can develop his shot and stickhandling ability enough to become a top-six centre though. If he can reach his potential, he can become a second-line centre capable of playing in all situations. His effort level is always high. This, along with his defensive instincts will make him a fan favourite at any level. Expect Kasper to spend a year or two in Europe before being ready for the AHL and then NHL. His game is reminiscent of Sean Couturier. This is a stylistic comparison only though, not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Marco Kasper that are available on youtube and Twitter.
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) April 26, 2022
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) April 12, 2022
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) May 15, 2022
Watching Marco Kasper (2022, #24) film as I gather notes for my report on him.
This clip shows that Kasper can analyze pressure on the fly. He sees that the attacker is putting pressure on him but isn't going for the puck. So, Kasper backhands a pass to his open teammate. pic.twitter.com/DGJP9dSMpx
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) January 4, 2022
Got one more fun Marco Kasper (2022) clip for you.
Look at his edges and crossovers when he skates hard after the Brynäs winger to cut him off just before the blue line. Kasper looks to force a rash decision or a change in possession to keep the puck in the offensive zone. pic.twitter.com/MMUQHERyqA
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) January 5, 2022
Check back tomorrow for our latest 2022 NHL Draft Article.
Marco Kasper Scouting Report Main Photo:
Tuesday’s show will feature special guest Marco Kasper.
Kasper is a top 20 NHL draft prospect (𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘧𝘢𝘷𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘢𝘯𝘶𝘤𝘬𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘳𝘢𝘧𝘵 𝘢𝘵 15).
— Canucks Conversation Podcast (@CanucksConvo) May 9, 2022