NHL Mock Draft 2019: No.2 — Kaapo Kakkko

Updated: June 13, 2019 at 2:57 pm by Brock Seguin

Entering the NHL Draft Lottery, the New York Rangers had just a 7.8 percent chance of landing the No.2 overall pick—the sixth-best odds.

This is the first time since 1966 that the Rangers have selected second overall but the third year in a row that they’ve had a pick inside the top-10.

After not having a first-round pick from 2013-to-2016, the Rangers have had five first-round picks over the last two seasons and have two first-round picks (No.2 & No.20) this year.

Their five first-round picks from 2017 and 2018:

With the No.2 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the New York Rangers select…

Kaapo Kakko — RW — Finland 🇫🇮

Kakko was always expected to go second overall behind Jack Hughes but he certainly made his case for going first overall during the 2019 World Championships. After scoring a Finnish Elite League record 22 goals (most by an 18-year-old or younger) and 16 assists (38 points) in 45 games with TPS Turku, Kakko went to the World Championships, where he scored six goals with one assist to help Finland to the gold medal.

Kakko turned a lot of heads at the Worlds but it’s likely not enough to get the New Jersey Devils to draft him over Hughes. In addition to his World Championship performance, Kakko had two goals and three assists (five points) in seven games at the World Juniors.

The 18-year-old has good size (6-foot-2, 190 lbs) which will help make his transition to the NHL seamless. Kakko showed he was capable of winning board battles against men in the Liiga and World Championship and his high hockey IQ will allow him to excel for the Rangers next season.

With Mats Zuccarello being traded to the Dallas Stars at last year’s deadline, Kakko will likely slide right into his spot in the Rangers’ top-6 in 2019-20. He should also be a staple on the Rangers’ top power-play—a unit that ranked 17th in the NHL (19.4%) last year.

Scouting Report

With decent size for a player of his age, Kakko protects the puck well and uses his high hockey IQ to make smart offensive plays. He plays a mature game and is already strong enough to compete with men in the Finnish Liiga. Kakko excels offensively and beats opponents with smarts and skill both on and off the puck. — Matias Strozyk (Elite Prospects)

He’s given every indication he can be a star forward in the NHL and, given what he’s done versus men already, every indication he could step in right away next season and make a seamless transition into a top-nine, if not a top-six forward role. — Corey Pronman (The Athletic)

The left-hand shot has an excellent understanding of the game, can win 1-on-1 battles, is strong along the boards and relishes pressure situations, including scoring the game-winning goal for Finland against the United States to win the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. — Mike G. Morreale (NHL.com)




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