2019 NHL Draft: Rangers select Kaapo Kakko with second overall pick

The long wait is over. The Rangers made it official, drafting Finnish winger Kaapo Kakko with the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. We ran his draft profile two months ago when it became clear the Rangers were going to take him, and I’m assuming by now you all know how big this pick is.

Kakko is an elite, franchise level player. He’s not generational like McDavid, but he’s a bonafide top line winger who is set to make the jump to the NHL this year. He dominated the Finnish league as a 17/18 year old, finishing with a line of 22-16-38 in 45 games. He can score in many different ways, is tenacious on the forecheck, protects the puck well, and basically does everything right.

He’s also school in the Scandinavian ways of hockey, so he’s a solid two-way player as well. At 6’1″ and 180+ lbs, he’s not going to get pushed off the puck easily either.

For the Blueshirts and their rebuild, this is the player they’ve needed. He’s not a savior, he’s not a generational talent, but he’s the elite franchise level player that winning teams need.

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  • Just not understanding the need to repeat (tonight’s two references weren’t the first) that Kakko isn’t a generational talent. If people want to dream that he is, it’s no big deal….

  • I wouldn’t be so quick to write off this kids upside. He drives the play, it’s like the other 4 guys are just there to take the pressure off him every now and then. I saw the same thing to a lesser degree with Kravtsov who can also be relentless in the offensive zone. The puck finds players like these over and over again — and I’m by no means trying to equate the two, I think Kakko is clearly advanced compared to Kravs. Generational? I don’t know yet, but he could develop into something incredibly special. Everybody points to Hughes having the much greater upside because he isn’t developed physically, but who is to say Kakko doesn’t have a lot of physical development to come — he’s 18. Who is to say he’s finished developing his skills, his shot, his skating, etc.? So let’s enjoy the ride and dream big because you know Devil fans are right now — let’s burst their bubble.

  • I’m very happy with the outcome of the draft so far, but a bit surprised. I was watching the Kaliyev kid last night, and he seems to be an unusual bird. Maybe there really is an issue with him, dropping to the second round, with teams like the Pens passing on him. Their whole game is scoring, and with the likes of both Crosby, and Malkin to feed this kid, why did they pass? Boston could use additional scoring, yet they passed as well. Let’s just see what happens in the second round, it will be interesting to watch?????

  • The devils are going to wish they took Kakko.

    I’m cuckoo for Kakkopuffs.

    Kid is the real deal. And he’s only going to get better.

    The Hughes kid is good but not Connor mcdavid good. And he’s on the small side. One big heavy hit could end him. Yeah yeah he’s a good skater but nhl players finish their checks so I don’t know how long he could survive.

    • The Devils made the right pick for them, for a lot of reasons.

      They did not get sucked in by the Worlds, which by the way, once Hughes played with better players started to pt up points. Linemates matter.

      If we had gotten Hughes then he would have been our 2C to start. Ranger fans moaning and groaning at that possibility was laughable.

      • I think we def got the better player…..I think Hughes is gonna end up being hype….WJ back in Jan he missed most of the Tournament with a hangnail or something

        • “Presumptive No. 1 overall pick and future New Jersey Devils star Jack Hughes is only adding to his legacy as the 2019 NHL Entry Draft draws closer. With three points in today’s bronze medal win over Team Canada, the American phenom reached a record 32 points over his career at the IIHF U-18 World Junior Championship. This breaks the previous mark of 31 total points, scored by future Hall of Famer Alex Ovechkin from 2002 and 2003.” What was that you said about “…he missed most of the Tournament with a hangnail or something”?

      • Hughes would have been as much of an upgrade at center for us as Kakko is going to be at wing. Either one would have worked.

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