2019 Draft Kaapo Kakko

Kaapo Kakko is pretty much the consensus for the Rangers at #2

The Rangers moved from sixth to the second overall pick in last night’s draft lottery.

Craig Button of TSN says that the Rangers should select Kakko with the second overall pick and that he plays his game with “skill, power and will.”

Button added, “he adds to a tremendous group of young players in their system with Vitali Kravtsov.”

Sam Cosentino ranked Kakko first in his March rankings and noted that some think he could be a center. Kakko was ranked 2nd, behind Jack Hughes, in Cosentino’s April rankings.

Corey Pronman wrote at The Athletic that in Kakko the Rangers would be getting a player as close to “NHL ready” as most under-18 players are and is “exactly what their rebuild needed: a true impact prospect they can build around.”

Pronman adds that Kakko is a “highly skilled” and competitive winger that can win battles against NHLers “right away. (The Athletic)

All three writers on have the Rangers selecting Kakko with Adam Kimelman writing he has “game-breaking offensive abilities, including high-end vision and hands, and can make plays at top speed. He could step right into a top-six role in the NHL next season.”

David Quinn told Larry Brooks that he has already began watching clips of Kakko, saying “he’s impressive” and that “sees the play ahead of the play.” (NY Post)

A scout told Brooks that Kakko is, “very competitive, highly motivated and extremely skilled. He’s a goal-scorer with outstanding instincts. He likes to use his body, too.”

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Adam Rotter: There are going to be whispers and rumors and a whole lot of speculation between now and when the Rangers make their pick but it’s either going to be Kakko or Jack Hughes. Some believe that the Rangers are one of the teams that have Hughes and Kakko neck and neck for first overall and if that is the case then they can just simply walk to the podium and announce the name of the person the Devils don’t take.

2019 Draft Kaapo Kakko NHL Draft NHL Draft Lottery

The Rangers will have the Second overall pick in 2019

The Rangers will have the Second Overall pick in 2019.

The Rangers had the sixth best odds of winning the lottery and a 23% chance of picking in the top-3.

Jeff Gorton said on NBCSN, “it certainly helps when you can move to the top-3, the Rangers have never been in the top-3, it’s exciting right now.”

The Top-3 ranked North American skaters by Central Scouting are centers Jack Hughes, Kirby Dach and Dylan Cozens.

The Top-3 ranked European skaters by Central Scouting are Finnish RW Kaapo Kakko, Russian RW Vasily Podkolzin and Swedish defenseman Phillip Broberg.

Kakko is ranked second overall by TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Craig Button.

One NHL head scout scout told McKenzie of the race between Hughes and Kakko, “The difference for us, right now, is razor thin. It’s almost a coin flip, pretty much a dead heat. Really close. Call it Hughes at 51 per cent, Kakko at 49 per cent. It’s that close and that could change.”

Another scout told McKenzie said that Kakko’s “game is from the top of the circles down with his size, strength and release.”

Corey Pronman wrote in The Athletic, “Kakko is a top prospect because he has so many high-end elements. I’ve talked to scouts who feel his compete level is his best trait, scouts who feel his hands are his best trait, as well as scouts who feel his hockey sense is his best trait.

Adam Rotter: Well this worked out pretty well for the Rangers. You have to think that Kaapo Kakko will be the pick but the Rangers love taking Russians so you can’t rule out Podkolzin. Either way the Rangers are adding an extremely high-end winger to their rebuild and someone that should team with Vitali Kravtsov to drive the Rangers offense for many years to come. Kakko will draw a lot of the attention leading up to the draft and for good reason. Some compare his style of play to Rick Nash with his hands and how he attacks the net to score. He fits very well with the type of player the Rangers usually take, European/high hockey IQ/high compete, and is probably someone David Quinn will love right away. This was certainly a trying season for the Rangers but they kept working, kept competing and the ping pong balls rewarded them.