Jan 17: After Koppanen joined Wagner in the minor leagues for a few days in between, the big forward is back up with the Bruins. He’ll head out on the road with them as they prepare to face the New York Islanders and New York Rangers in a back-to-back this week.
The 24-year-old winger has never appeared in an NHL game, playing exclusively with the Providence Bruins the last two seasons. A fifth-round pick from 2016, Koppanen is on a one-year, two-way contract that he signed last summer to stay in the organization.
Though he stands 6’5″ and towers over most of his opponents, Koppanen is not overly physical and instead uses his long reach as a tool defensively, especially on the penalty kill. Interestingly enough, Mark Divver of NHL.com tweeted yesterday that Koppanen had a bit of a “disagreement” with teammate Connor Carrick at practice. Divver followed up today with some words from the Providence coaching staff, saying that the big forward had been “unbelievable” and “absolutely outstanding” in the last few games.
While he technically received a Black Aces call-up last season, this is really Koppanen’s first chance at the NHL level. Wagner played just over 12 and a half minutes on Sunday in his only appearance of the season. If Koppanen takes that role tomorrow against the Seattle Kraken, it will be his NHL debut.