Kapanen, the son of former NHLer Sami Kapanen, is currently a member of the Toronto Marlies in the AHL and one of the top prospects in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization after the team acquired him as part of the Phil Kessel trade last summer.
After Tuesday’s winner, Kapanen’s stock has never been higher and the 19-year-old joined a select list of players who scored OT winners in the gold medal game at the tournament. With that in mind here’s a look at other players to earn golden goals at the tournament in the last 20 years and what they’ve ended up doing in the NHL.
2014 – Finland’s Rasmus Ristolainen
The Buffalo Sabres prospect was an absolute beast in this tournament. In addition to scoring a beauty winner against host Sweden, he was named a tournament all star and the top defenceman. Ristolainen is now in his third season with the Sabres and has 26 points through 39 games. The 21-year-old is undeniably one of the best young blueliners in hockey.
2012 – Sweden’s Mika Zibanejad
Zibanejad’s golden goal against Russia took place in front of a very pro-Sweden crowd at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary because the Russians had just eliminated Team Canada in the semifinals. It was Sweden’s first gold medal at the tournament since 1981. The sixth-overall pick from 2011 hasn’t quite developed into a top-line NHL forward yet, but he’s on pace to set a career high in points this season with the Ottawa Senators.
2010 – America’s John Carlson
This was a thrilling, back-and-forth game and the overtime period was no different. The right-handed Washington Capitals defenceman skated down the left side of the ice, elected to keep the puck on a partial three-on-one rush and sniped it short side past Martin Jones. Carlson has continued to be one of the best players for USA Hockey since turning pro. He represented the United States at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and should be a lock for the U.S. roster at the upcoming World Cup.
2008 – Canada’s Matt Halischuk
Halischuk led Canada to a fourth consecutive gold medal with the help of fellow Greater Toronto Area player Shawn Matthias, who drove hard to the net before Halischuk banged the loose puck home against Sweden. The 117th pick from the 2007 NHL Draft has played 257 career NHL games and is currently a depth forward on the Winnipeg Jets.
1999 – Russia’s Artem Chubarov
When Chubarov beat Roberto Luongo to silence the boisterous Winnipeg crowd it was one of the most heartbreaking losses Canadian hockey fans have witnessed at the world juniors. It was the first gold medal for Russia at the tournament since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Chubarov spent his entire brief NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks but finished his playing days in the KHL.
1998 – Finland’s Niklas Hagman
Hagman had a respectable NHL career – 301 points in 770 games spent with the Panthers, Stars, Maple Leafs, Flames and Ducks – and his international resume is also impressive. In addition to leading Finland to world junior gold, he won silver and bronze Olympic medals in 2006 and 2010, respectively.