With the Flyers’ 2021-22 season in the books, the offseason moves have begun.
General manager Chuck Fletcher announced two additions to his hockey operations staff on Thursday, naming former Flyer Sami Kapanen and Kyle Shero to scouting roles.
Kapanen, 48, will work in European player development and serve as a pro scout. The Vantaa, Finland, native played for the Flyers for five seasons from 2003 through the 2007-08 season before retiring from the NHL. In 311 career games with the Flyers, Kapanen registered 44 goals and 66 assists for 110 points.
He made four playoff appearances with the Flyers, including trips to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004 and 2008. In 53 playoff games with the Flyers, Kapanen scored four goals and registered 12 assists for 16 points.
“I’m mostly focusing on the players that we’ve been already drafting and that are playing in Europe,” Kapanen said of his new role. “So that’s my main job. At the same time, I’m helping the organization scouting the pro level, and helping to find hopefully new players.”
Kapanen has already started working with Samu Tuomaala, the 19-year-old Finnish winger whom the Flyers selected in the second round, 46th overall in the 2021 draft.
Tuomaala had an underwhelming first full season in the Finnish Liiga, registering three points (one goal, two assists) in 21 games on loan with two clubs, Vaasan Sport and Jukurit. Kapanen will continue to help Tuomaala develop his game as he looks to eventually make the jump to North America.
“He had a rough year, there’s no doubt about it,” Kapanen said. “As an offensive player, he had a tough time putting up the numbers that he was expecting and I think the teams were expecting. So that’s something that we will focus on, getting the confidence back as a hockey player, as an offensive player.”
In total, Kapanen played in the NHL for 12 years, racking up 831 games, two All-Star appearances during and establishing himself as one of the league’s fastest skaters during his career with the Flyers, the Hartford Whalers and the Carolina Hurricanes. After retiring from the NHL, Kapanen returned to Finland to play for KalPa of the Finnish Liiga, where he started his professional hockey career.
After retiring in 2014, Kapanen continued to work in the KalPa organization, spending time as an assistant coach, head coach, general manager and owner. Kapanen later spent one season as head coach of HC Lugano in Switzerland in 2019-20.
“I have learned a lot over the years of managing the team and the different jobs in hockey,” Kapanen said. “Whatever I’ve done as a player, as a coach, as an owner, or the GM has been prepping me [for] what I’m starting to do right now, the player development. So we were excited with that. I feel I have a whole lot to give [to] young players.”
Kapanen has represented Finland on the international stage several times, earning bronze medals at the 1994 and 1998 Olympics.
His son, Kasperi, plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Shero, 23, joins the Flyers as an amateur scout, primarily responsible for scouting high school, junior, and NCAA players in New England. He is the grandson of longtime Flyers and Hockey Hall of Fame coach Fred Shero.
Shero spent the last four seasons playing Division III hockey at Connecticut College, recording 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 63 games.