I can’t understand why so many people are saying they’d take Kakko first in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He’s a fantastic talent and will have a long and successful NHL career I have no doubt, but he’s no Jack Hughes.
But while Kakko may be no Jack Hughes, to me at least, he does have a trump card: he’ll likely slot into the New York Rangers’ top six from the get-go, and be heavily relied on for offense. With the Rangers selling off their UFA assets at the deadline, their top six is ready for an infusion of youth, and it’s entirely conceivable that come October 2019 their first line has a certain Kaapo Kakko pencilled in.
Playing on such a young, fast and dynamic team, in all situations – could we see Kaapo Kakko as next year’s Calder winner?
In nine games with the Detroit Red Wings, Filip Zadina had a goal and two assists and a -5 rating. He didn’t set the world on fire, but his talent has been proven at every level he’s played at and, just like Kakko, he’ll be primed for a top six team starved of offense.
He put up a respectable 35 points in 59 games in the AHL last season, and will surely be brought up from the Grand Rapids Griffins for good next season. He’s an outside bet, but is a player who has the skill level to challenge for Calder nominations.