Kaapo Kakko has done just about everything he could to make a race of this thing, but ended up coming in second as the New York Rangers picked him right after Jack Hughes was selected first overall by the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
The Finnish forward dazzled fans at the 2019 World Junior Championships and the 2019 IIHF World Championships this season, winning gold at both events and effectively making his presence known to the rest of the hockey world.
Kakko is a six foot, 2 inch, 185 pound power winger who is excellent at protecting the puck and loves to take it to the net. He has pushed top rated prospect Jack Hughes for the top spot in draft rankings all season long and there are many analysts who believe that Kakko will be the more complete player throughout his NHL career.
"When you look at Kakko, he's so strong, he's so smart, he's so good around the net and, really, we've seen a huge ascendence from him," reports The Hockey News\ Ryan Kennedy. "I think he's going to be a force on the wing. I think he's a player who can go right to the NHL and there's a lot of upside there."
Kakko put up an impressive 22 goals and 38 points in 45 games with TPS Turku of the Finnish Liiga. Perhaps most impressively though, Kakko led a Finnish team with just one NHL player on its roster (Henri Jokiharju) to a gold medal at the IIHF World Championships with six goals and 11 points in 18 games.
Check him out in action: