Rangers fans have been waiting eagerly to see which super-prospect they would get ever since they moved up to second in the draft lottery in May. Now, the waiting is finally over.
General manager Jeff Gorton chose Kaapo Kakko second overall in the NHL Draft on Friday night, gifting the Rangers a generational talent that instantly slots into their top-six forward group.
The Devils made Gorton's decision easy by selecting U.S.-born Jack Hughes first overall, leaving Kakko the clear-cut best option. Although he went second overall, Kakko is projected to be a budding superstar and becomes the most exciting prospect in a stacked Rangers system.
Here are seven more facts about the newest Rangers star:
- Kakko, 18, is a 6-foot-2, 194-pound right winger with a left-handed shot.
- Despite being the youngest player on TPS, his Finnish Liiga team last year, Kakko led the team in points and scored four goals in five playoff games.
- Kakko brings a championship pedigree to the Rangers. He has won gold medals at all three levels of international competition (U-18, U-20 and World Championships). By winning a World Championship at 18, he passed Connor McDavid to become the youngest player to earn all three gold medals.
- Kakko scored the game-winning goal in the World Juniors in January at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, the same arena where he became a New Jersey Devil five months later.
- Scouting reports describe him as a creative and expert stickhandler with good skating and sharp defensive skills.
- Kakko is the fourth prospect from TPS that the Rangers have acquired in the last three years, joining Tarmo Reunanen (2016) Lauri Pajuniemi (2018) and Alexander Georgiev (2018).
- Kakko has diabetes and celiac disease, but says there are no restrictions that come with his condition.