The 2019 NHL Draft is weeks away, and SB Nation is once again holding a mock draft to prepare. This year the New York Rangers hold the No. 2 overall pick, so Blueshirt Banter is proud to make the team’s pick by proxy.
With that said, with the second pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Rangers select forward Kaapo Kakko of TPS from Liiga.
Position: Left/Right Winger
Age on Draft Day: 18.36 Years Old
Height/Weight: 6’2, 190 pounds
2018-2019 Stats: 45 GP, 22 G, 16 A, 10 PIM
NHL Central Scouting (Europe only): 1st
Bob McKenzie: 2nd
Craig Button: 2nd
ISS Hockey: 2nd
Kakko is an exceptional talent, and someone who could be a franchise player for the Blueshirts. He has all the tools necessary to have a long NHL career, and here’s an excerpt from our draft profile on Kakko.
Kakko is a dynamic offensive prospect capable of playing either wing or center who blends size, smarts, and high-end puck skills for all-round impact.
Standing 6’2” and weighing 190 lbs., 18-year-old Kakko is already able to physically dominate shifts against veteran opposition. He’s big, strong on his skates, and extremely persistent. Kakko uses his frame and reach well to protect the puck in all areas and shield possession during offensive-zone battles. He forechecks and harries relentlessly, reigniting dead plays and often turning nothing into something with a steal and quick set-up.
It’s hard to find a fault in Kakko’s game and the skills he possesses. He’s a big guy who actually makes it count, with high-end hands, great feet, and the intelligence to position himself where he can best impact the game. Kakko stood out against men at both the club and international levels this season on his way to breaking Alexander Barkov’s Under-18 goalscoring record in Finland’s Liiga.
Kakko is a player who should be in the Rangers’ starting lineup for the 2019-20 season, and it is going to be a lot of fun to watch him grow and develop on Broadway.
In recent weeks he’s created a lot of buzz to go No. 1 overall — mostly due to his Gold Medal winning performance at the World Championship which saw him score six goals in 10 games — and the Rangers will be more than happy to take him at No. 2 overall if this mock draft mirrors real life.
In addition to this tournament, Kakko tallied 10 points in seven games while capturing Gold at the WJC Under-18 tournament, and the WJC Under-20 tournament after tallying five points in seven games.
Kaapo Kakko has Under-18 World Juniors, Under-20 World Juniors, and World Championship at just 18 years of age. Has to be a record.— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) May 26, 2019
Thus far he’s had a knack of coming up in big situations, and he’s done it against NHL competition, and/or other top prospects. It would be an understatement to say there is a wave of excitement ready to crest and crash once he drafted, and it is going to be interesting to see the impact he makes early on at the NHL level.
For more of Blueshirt Banter’s draft rankings, be sure to check out our master list which is updated when a new profile is published.
SB Nation 2019 NHL Mock Draft
1.) New Jersey Devils: Jack Hughes, US National Team Development Program (USHL)
2.) New York Rangers: Kaapo Kakko, TPS (Liiga)