Photo courtesy of HC TPS

Fantasy Summary

Top-line forward with upside to be a franchise player. Known as a winger but is also capable of playing down the middle. More of a playmaker but also very good at finishing plays. Excellent hands, vision and puck-protection skills, and has a great shot as well


Observations

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September 2020 – Kakko’s rookie season with the Rangers was a learning and growing experience. The 18-year-old Finn flashed an abundance of skill at times, but also struggled to maintain consistency versus entry-level assignments. His deployment alongside bottom-six type of players may not have enabled a more impactful offensive season, but it became abundantly clear throughout the season that Kakko still has some work to do in terms of cementing the foundation of his two-way game in the NHL. His play without the puck was somewhat sporadic, and he did not consistently support the team’s defensive efforts. These should be issues that can be worked out of his game gradually, and before long we should see him consistently in the Ranger’s top-six where he can thrive. Brayden Olafson 

January 2020 – To the surprise of very few, Kaapo Kakko made the New York Rangers lineup out of Fall training camp as an 18-year-old. In his first few months as a North American pro, the Finnish forward has had some offensive success but hasn’t quite exploded onto the scene as expected. Under David Quinn, Kakko has been shuffled through the lineup, ultimately, finding somewhat of a home on the team’s third line, primarily alongside Brett Howden and a rotating winger. Despite his relatively sparse production, through 30+ contests, there is much to be happy about with Kakko’s game, and at 18-years-old, still plenty to be hopeful for. Brayden Olafson

June 2019 – Kakko has been drafted second overall by the Rangers.  Jokke Nevalainen

May 2019 – Kakko is doing everything in his power to unseat Jack Hughes for the pole position at the upcoming NHL Draft. His play against proven NHL talent at the World Championships has been nothing short of amazing. Finland sent a team void of full-time NHL players so Kakko has been the squad’s top offensive weapon. He’s done his part too. Five goals – including a hat trick, in just three games. Tack on another 18 shots and it’s been a masterful performance by the 18-year-old. Cam Robinson

March 2019 – Kakko had a record-breaking under-18 season in the Finnish Liiga as he broke the single-season goal-scoring record with his 22 goals in 45 games, and his 38 points is the third-best mark on the all-time list behind just Aleksander Barkov and Mikael Granlund. Seven of his goals were game-winners, and he played an average of 18:11 per game. After impressing everyone at the World Juniors and scoring the golden goal for Team Finland, Kakko was one of the best players in the league for the second half where he put up 13 goals and 18 points in 18 games. It appeared like he realized his linemates are unable to finish the scoring chances he created for them, so he decided to take matters into his own hands and be more aggressive in finishing the plays himself. Kakko’s strong season at the pro level has made it a two-horse race for the first overall selection in the summer. Kakko is eligible for the U18 Worlds but his team could still be playing in the Liiga playoffs at that time. It’s also possible he decides to skip the event in order to focus on cracking the World Championship team roster at the men’s level.  Jokke Nevalainen

October 2018 – Kakko has had a great start to his first full season in the Finnish Liiga. If he keeps up his current pace, he’ll have one of the best U18 seasons in the history of the league. His U17 season in the Finnish junior league a year ago was also one of the all-time bests. Kakko has all the tools to become an elite level player in the NHL. His skating is very good. His hands and vision are excellent. He has good size, and his puck-protection skills are unbelievable. His shot is good as well but he doesn’t use it often enough. He’s more of a playmaker but using his shot more frequently could open up passing lanes. Kakko is ranked second or third in the early rankings but he has all the tools to challenge for the top spot in the 2019 NHL Draft – especially if he gets to showcase his play down the middle. Most people think of him as a winger but he has a history of playing center in junior.  Jokke Nevalainen

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 9.2
NHL Certainty 9.9
Country FIN
Position RW
Roster Type System
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth February 13, 2001
Height 6‘2”
Weight 181 lbs
Drafted 2019 Round 1; Overall: 2

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2015-2016 TPS U16U16 SM-sarja Q8 3 710 2|        
  TPS U16U16 SM-sarja25 14 1226 2|Playoffs4 0 33
 2016-2017 TPS U16U16 SM-sarja0 0 00 0|Playoffs2 2 13
  TPS U18U18 SM-sarja35 24 1741 8|Playoffs5 7 07
  TPS U20U20 SM-sarja7 0 44 0|Playoffs3 0 11
  Finland U16 (all)International-Jr8 6 28 2|        
  Finland U17 (all)International-Jr3 0 00 0|        
 2017-2018 TPS U18U18 SM-sarja6 7 411 4|Playoffs5 4 59
  TPS U20U20 SM-sarja38 25 3055 16|        
  TPSLiiga6 0 11 0|        
  Finland U17 (all)International-Jr1 0 00 0|        
  Finland U18WJC-187 4 610 2|        
  Finland U18 (all)International-Jr13 6 1117 4|        
 2018-2019 TPSChampions HL5 2 02 2|        
  TPSLiiga45 22 1638 10|Playoffs5 4 15
  Finland U20WJC-207 2 35 0|        
  Finland U20 (all)International-Jr18 4 1014 2|        
  FinlandWC10 6 17 0|        
  Finland EHT2 0 22 0|        
  Finland (all)International18 6 511 2|        
 2019-2020 New York RangersNHL66 10 1323 14|Playoffs3 0 00
 2020-2021 New York RangersNHL- - -- -|        

Highlights