Position: 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 spent the 2018-19 season with TPS in the Finnish Liiga, and turned a lot of heads with his play. Jack Hughes had been considered the consensus No. 1 pick for quite sometime, but Kakko’s play was enough to convince league executives that it might be a closer race than they originally thought. Alas, he goes No. 2 overall, but there’s no one associated with the Rangers who is going to complain about that.
As noted in the draft profile put together by Adam, Alex, and Tobias, Kakko was in elite territory when it came to draft year scoring, finishing with a points per game average of 0.84, third to only Aleksander Barkov (0.91), and Mikael Granlund (0.93).
This selection could ultimately be one of the biggest moments in the history of the franchise, and here’s another excerpt from our draft profile explaining why.
The debate about how good Kakko will be in his prime is nuanced. He’s going to be an impact player. He’s going to be the best, or at worst, second-best, forward on a contending team. Will he be a top-10 NHL scorer? Top-five? Rocket Richard winner? That’s to be determined. But whichever of the Devils or Rangers lands him is gaining a player who is going to make an impact in the NHL next October and put together an all-star resume for the next 15 seasons. Though we officially have him second in our rankings, it should be noted that I was actually out-voted by both Alex and Tobias, who ranked Kakko slightly ahead of Hughes. It’s neck-and-neck between the two prospects, and Kakko would be a justified selection at first overall.
In the history of the NHL Entry Draft in 1979, the Rangers haven’t had many opportunities to draft a forward like Kakko.
On defense they have drafted players like James Patrick, Brian Leetch, and Sergei Zubov, and in goal they were lucky to land Henrik Lundqvist; one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.
As for forwards, they’ve had a few great picks such as Alexei Kovalev, Doug Weight, and Tony Amonte, but Kakko represents something different. They’ve drafted few forwards that fall into the elite and franchise-changing category.
Kakko has elite potential and could become a franchise-changing player if he spends his career with the Rangers. He could become a cornerstone of the rebuilt Rangers and really make his mark on the franchise.
Assuming the Rangers don’t make any trades, they are next up at No. 49 overall in the second round.
With that said, what do you think of the pick?