Game Time Prospect Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011

Prospect Sunday header

By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department


Transactions header

PROSPECT PROMOTIONS / DEMOTIONS:

11-29-11 -- D Cade Fairchild called up to St. Louis (NHL) from Peoria (AHL). (LINK).

12-03-11 -- D Cade Fairchild returned to Peoria (AHL) from St. Louis (NHL). (LINK).

12-03-11 -- F Brett Sterling returned to Peoria (AHL) from St. Louis (NHL). (LINK).

PROSPECT TRADES:

None to report this week.

PLAYERS ON SICK CALL:

11-05-11 -- C Jori Lehtrera (Sibir Novosibirsk/KHL) out indefinitely with a knee injury. (LINK).

PLAYERS RETURNED TO DUTY:

None to report this week.

PLAYERS ON SUSPENSION:

None to report this week.


Radar2On The Radar header

BIG DEFENSEMAN HAKANPÄÄ MAY BE ON HIS WAY TO BLUES:

The prospect spotlight this week fall on big (6' 4, 211) Finnish defenseman Jani Hakanpää, as the Blues' fourth selection (104th overall) in 2010 takes his turn On The Radar in the Blues' organization.

Hakanpää is actually already skating for the Blues... Blues Espoo, that is.

Espoo is the second-largest city in Finland, located about ten miles west of Helsinki, and is where 2010 draftee (104th overall) Jani Hakanpää has been playing and developing for his entire career in Finland. The 6’ 4, 211-pound Hakanpää was born in Kirkkonummi, just to the southwest of Espoo and close to the shores of the Gulf of Finland, and began his career at age 14 with the local Kiekko-Vantaa U16 club.

Hakanpää graduated to the Kiekko-Vantaa U18 club on a full-time basis at age 16, and served as the team’s captain in his draft season, where he put up a 3-17-20 scoring line with 71 PM in 35 games. Last year, Hakanpää was promoted into the Blues Espoo system, and spent the 2010-11 season with the Blues U20 club in the A-Nuorten, or Junior "A" SM-Liiga. With the junior Blues, Hakanpää put together a solid year by posting a 3-23-26 scoring line with 61 PM in 36 games. He also skated for Finland in the U18 World Junior Championships, scoring a goal and an assist with 6 PM in six games for the bronze medal-winning Finns.

Hakanpää has played almost the entire 2011-12 season with Blues Espoo in the SM-Liiga, and scored his first pro goal a couple of weeks ago. He has also put in five games with the U20 squad, racking up four assists and a plus-3 mark in those games, and has served as team captain for Finnish U20 clubs in several tournaments. Hakanpää is expected to skate for the Finns at the U20 World Junior Championships this Christmas, and is in the last year of his entry-level contract with Blues Espoo.

Hakanpää will be age-eligible for AHL play next season. Players from thje Finnish Elite league tend to be less averse to playing in the AHL than players from other European elite leagues, so it's entirely possible that Hakanpää starts his North American pro career in central Illinois, perhaps as early as the end of this season. There is a possibility that he comes over at the end of the Finnish season on a PTO basis for Peoria.

Here's some video from the Finnish National Team, showing Hakanpää in Suomi regalia practicing with his coach; sorry, the audio is in Finnish.


FEATURES THIS WEEK:

River Readings headerRIVER READINGS

The Peoria Rivermen earned a rare shutout win in Chicago this week before dropping both games of a home-and-home to Milwaukee. Plus, "Movember" before and after pics of Rivermen players. Details ONE HOUR LATER THAN USUAL THIS WEEK at 3:00 PM Central Time.

Trending Up headerTRENDING UP

Details at 4:00 PM Central Time.

Weekly Stats headerWEEKLY PROSPECT STATISTICS REVIEW

The most complete weekly source of Blues' prospect scoring and goaltending stats available anywhere in one place. Details at 5:00 PM Central Time.

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