The Florida Panthers drafted defenseman Kasper Puutio in the fifth round of the 2021 NHL Entry afrer the Finnish prospect put up 28 points in 56 games in the Western Hockey League.
Puutio was selected by the Swift Current Broncos with the first pick in 2019 CHL import Draft. He played 35 games with Swift Current, where scored his first WHL goal and added 15 assists, before he was traded to the Everett Silvertips. Puutio produced four goals and eight assists in 21 games with the SIlvertips and posted a +13 rating, a marked improvement over the -15 he posted with the lowly Broncos. He was added to the roster for the Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game as an injury replacement.
A product of the Karpat system, Puutio returned to Finland and rejoined the club after the remainder of the 2019-2020 WHL season and playoffs were cancelled to COVID-19. He scored two goals and added one assist and finished with a -6 rating in 29 Liiga games. He made one scoreless appearance for Karpat in the Liiga postseason.
Puutio was a teammate of Florida’s 2020 first round choice Anton Lundell on Finland’s World Junior Championship squad and suited up in all 7 games in Edmonton, winning a bronze medal. He finished the tournament with two assists and a -1 rating.
The 19-year-old was a member of the Finnish squad that just took part in the World Junior Summer Showcase in late July. He played in all six of Finland’s games and scored one goal and added three assists.
Puutio is a slick defenseman, whose best attributes are his poise and agile skating. He moves the puck well under the pressure and his passing skills allow him to see power play time. While he is not overly fast, he is difficult to get through in his own zone and is adept at using his stick to take away passing lanes.
It looks like Puutio will continue his development in Finland’s top league as he has signed a two-year contract with KalPa Kuopio.