Photo Credit: Andreas Ljunggren / Rögle BK
Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler
Marco Kasper is 2022 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who plays for Rögle Bandyklubb (Rögle BK for short). Kasper was born in Innsbruck, Austria and represents Austria in international play. He represented Austria at both the 2021 IIHF World Juniors and the 2022 IIHF World Juniors.
Kasper’s father is Peter Kasper, who played professional hockey in Austria for Klagenfurter AC, HC Innsbruck, Vienna Capitals and EC Salzburg. Peter is now an Assistant Coach for Klagenfurter AC’s U18 club.
In Marco Kasper’s youth hockey days, he played for Klagenfurter AC. Klagenfurter AC is the same Austrian club that Anaheim Ducks prospect Thimo Nickl and former New York Rangers defenseman Thomas Pöck player for.
During his time with Klagenfurter AC, he was also in an Austrian film called Harrinator (Harri Pinter, Drecksau). The film was about a retired Klagenfurter AC player and Kasper played the role of a Klagenfurter AC youth hockey player. The character’s name is Robert Begusch. If you would like to check out the trailer, we have embedded the YouTube link for it below.
Kasper played with Klagenfurter AC until 2020-2021. At that point, he picked up his bags and moved to Ängelholm, Sweden to play for Rögle.
In his first season with Rögle, he played J18, J20 and SHL hockey for the club. This season, he has spent the majority of his time with Rögle’s SHL team.
D.O.B – April 8, 2004
Nationality – Austria
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –183 lbs
Position – Center
Handedness – Left
Kasper’s Style Of Play
Kasper does an excellent job of finding ways to shake himself free of pressure when in control of the puck. If he is playing the puck against the boards, before the attack closes in on him, he’ll throw the puck along the boards. Kasper is looking to find a teammate down low along the boards and get him the puck. But, he also excellent pivots that he will utilize to shake off pressure and buy himself time and space. If he notices that a defender is pressuring him along the boards but isn’t looking for the puck and the defender is solely going at him to push him in the boards, Kasper completes a behind the back pass to keep the play alive by passing to his teammate skating in the lane behind him.
If he can’t shake free of pressure, he will still find ways to secure the puck. When along the boards and he can’t get a pass off as he being thrown to the boards, he does a good job of keeping the puck at the boards with his blade and secures it well.
While he does do a good job of pivoting when being pursued heavily by an attacker, sometimes he doesn’t have speed off of the pivot to truly garner open ice. Kasper needs to move in the other direction at a quick rate to truly lose the attacker otherwise he will give the attacker enough time to get back into position to counter his (Kasper’s) movements.
His reach makes him a joy to watch. The reachability allows him to extend his stick out towards an attacker when he is in reach of the passing lane. That has led to interceptions and disrupting attackers grabbing a hold of possession of the puck. When in control of the puck, he uses good stick-handling reach to push the puck past the attacking defender when cutting to the crease. If he is wrapping around the net, he has excellent backhand puck cradling. At open ice, he can stick-handle through the legs to get around the last defender and throws a backhand pass to the slot.
Sometimes, Kasper will bobble the puck and have a difficult time trying to secure the puck. But, that has more to do with cradling the puck a little too far out when wind-milling and then he looses control of the puck when he does so. He just needs to be slightly more cautious of swinging the puck too far out to one side when he stick-handling while on the move at a fast pace.
When you look at his passing in the offensive zone, he isn’t going to generate a lot of dangerous passes to the slot. But, when in tight at net-front, he does look to complete feeds to another teammate in the slot should he run out of real estate and not get quality shot lane. Kasper has been able to manufacture behind the back assist in the low slot at net-front. He will swerve the puck around the defender. To complete the pass, he relies on his reachability to push the puck past the attacker.
When shooting, his bread and butter are deflection goals at net-front. He will plant himself at net-front as he likes to take away from the vision from the opposing goaltender and stand tall in front of him to be a distraction. Kasper screens goaltenders, times his stick extension at the right moment and re-directs pucks into an open spot in the net.
As mentioned above, he relies on his pivoting to key up skating lanes for himself. His desire to carve out ice allows him to skate into open ice and take quality shots on net. Kasper works hard for his goals and isn’t a passenger. He might like to position himself at net-front, but he holds his own and creates his own goals like this once against Linköping.
When shooting from range, he needs to address his weight transfer on shots from medium danger. Kasper doesn’t always pull his body forward over his knee. You won’t notice it when he attempts one-timers, but when he is holding the puck for a decent amount of time and then shooting, he struggles to get the weight transfer to provide the power that he needs.
From a positioning perspective, he likes to skate to the slot and circle around until he finds passing lanes for his teammates. Kasper is always looking to generate open ice for himself and he doesn’t always look for it in the slot. He will go anywhere in the offensive zone to carve out open ice and will use his backwards skating to steer him to find open ice should he not net a passing lane closer to a puck carrying teammate. Kasper will skate backwards from the slot into medium danger and provide one-timer passing lanes at the backdoor.
When his forward teammates are bunching up around the net and his defender is carrying the puck along the blue line, Kasper drops back and then skates with him in toe with the defender pinches up to offer a solid passing lane. If he notices that quite a few of his teammates are in puck battles along the other half-wall, he hangs back at centered ice to take away passing lanes and open up passing lanes should his teammates net control of the puck.
When it comes to Kasper’s forechecking, at the U20 level, he is a complete handful for any puck carrier. His speed is unmatched and keeps excellent pace with attackers. At the SHL level, he doesn’t win as many puck battles, which is to be expected. But, there are plenty of shifts at the SHL level in which his speed on the forecheck shines and he becomes a true disruption for the puck carrier. Kasper keeps good pace on attackers when he is in front of the red line and attackers are skating with the puck behind the red line. When he looks to implement tighter pressure and he is a ways out from the attacker, he utilizes good edges and crossovers to pick up his acceleration and dash after a puck carrier to force a rash puck movement decision.
While on the subject of forechecking, Kasper has a lot of grit to his game. He loves to get under your skin. Kasper likes to go in for shoulder check at open ice and along the boards. The grittiness doesn’t often lead to a lot of change in possession, but it is disruptive for any puck carrying attacker. It forces the attacker to make a quicker decision with his puck movement.
In the defensive zone, will shift from defending the point to moving back down towards his net-minder when there is puck movement in the corners/behind his own net. He offers a passing lane and takes away open passing lanes should his attackers net possession of the puck. But, that doesn’t mean that Kasper won’t get involved down low. Kasper will go low and look to steal the puck with a poke check from time to time. In addition, to poke checking, he has proven to be extremely physical in the corners. Kasper will throw his weight. He wants the puck and wants to be a nuisance for the attackers who have possession of the puck.
When it comes to gap control, Kasper implements quality pressure and has excellent pace. Stays toe to toe with puck carrying attackers. Kasper has quality vision and uses it to monitor movements including body language to stay well-aligned to the attack. His good pace and gap control allows him to pick up loose pucks should the attack lose possession of the puck.
If he can’t generate toe to toe pressure and he is skating behind the attack, he will stick lift to try to cause disruption. Kasper loves to disrupt play. It’s evident in his grit and when following the attack if he can’t net ground on them. He looks to irritate you with his stick and extend his stick blade towards his attacker’s knees and legs.
When defending at the perimeter, he will keep a close eye on the attack. Kasper will swing and lower his body to block shots from the perimeter in the slot. If the attack is playing with the puck at the point, Kasper will aim to turn on the jets and force the puck carrying defensemen to dump possession of the puck to the corners. That allows Kasper’s defensemen to make a play for the loose puck and will sometimes cause a change in possession if his teammates can beat the attack to the puck.
When looking to capture possession of a loose puck in the corner, he tries to squeeze his way in on the puck and place his body in front of the attacker. As stated before, Kasper is puck hungry and knows that if he can take the inside lane when going after the puck that he has the edge in the puck battle.
If he is in tight puck battle and gets trapped immediately when netting possession of the puck, he uses his reach to extend his stick out and dump the puck before the attacker can net possession.
In the neutral zone, Kasper looks to complete swift zone entry passes should he have possession of the puck and doesn’t have clear skating lane into the offensive zone. If he is at the blue line, he has shown that he can generate light tap passes on lateral feeds to a teammate close by. Should he have the puck closer to the defensive zone, Kasper has proven that he can feather quality passes from low in the neutral zone to a teammate at the blue line while he was skating through the zone.
When one of his forward line-mates has possession of the puck and is rushing through the neutral zone, he maintains good pace with his forward line-mates. His pace keeps him aligned with his teammates and makes it easier to for a teammate to complete a zone exit pass to Kasper. If he is not aligned with his teammates and skating up the ice with them or his defensemen have possession of the puck in the defensive zone, he will look to backwards skate in the neutral zone to open up passing lanes and find open ice.
As mentioned in the offensive zone, there are sequences in which he struggles with stick-handling when on the move. Sometimes when he is on the move, he struggles to limit how far he cradles the puck from left to right (and vice versa) and that results in losing possession of the puck. Kasper needs to be cautious of how far out he cradles the puck when on the move. But, at the same time, what I don’t want to happen is Kasper starts to get concerned about puck control and he then slows down his stride. I’d rather Kasper cough up possession from time to time in the neutral zone than Kasper slowing down his stride. If he slows down his stride, the chances of him giving up the puck would be much higher.
When defending in the neutral zone, he prefers to find centered ice and defend the interior of the neutral zone. Kasper implements quality pressure on the puck carrier in the neutral zone, he will lean in with his upper body to try to separate the puck from the puck carrier. He likes to skate in toe with the puck carrier and use his backwards skating to line up to keep the carrier in front of him but at a slight distance. This allows Kasper to use his vision to read movements and adjust his positioning if needed. When he is in closer proximity, especially need the defensive zone blue line, Kasper likes to extends his stick towards a puck carrier’s stick blade to cause rash decision making.
Kasper uses quality edges to make tight turns around net-front when puck possession shifts from left to right. He has quality inside and outside edges. Leans into them and keeps his knees bent. Kasper can maintain speed when turning his body with his edges. By leaning on his edges, he can retain the acceleration that he had before attempting to turn.
In addition, he gets solid speed on his crossovers. When skating zone to zone he uses his crossovers to power him up the ice. He relies more on his crossovers than he does rely on his power stride extensions. The crossovers allow him to generate enough speed to keep himself well-aligned with the attacker that he is dueling with. When defending, you need quality pace and it’s the crossovers that allow him to retain pace. His crossovers also allow him to move laterally at a faster pace and he utilizes lengthy crossovers as he skates backwards to power his backwards skating.
As mentioned before, Kasper has excellent pivots. He can complete quick pivots in the neutral zone when he sees a change in direction of puck movement. Kasper has shown that he can complete pivots on a dime when looking to shift away from the attack in the offensive zone and getting enough separation to make a pass to the slot. The only improvement that I would like to see is Kasper being quicker out of the pivot as there are situations in which he slows down his pace and that allows the attacker to catch up to him.
Kasper has good lengthy stride extensions and has solid ankle flexion. His stride length allow him to net good speed in a loose puck battle and to stay aligned with attackers. His straight line speed makes him dominant on the forecheck. At the U20 level, I’ve seen shifts in which Kasper stays stride for stride on the forecheck even when he is on one side of the red line and the attack is with the puck on the other side of the red line. It’s the acceleration that allows him to constantly keep his attackers in range.
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.
January 6, 2022
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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