The 2019 NHL Draft is set to take place on Friday, with the New Jersey Devils on the clock for the first overall selection at 8:00 p.m. ET.
With that pick, they have a huge decision to make in whether they will take the projected first-overall pick in this class for the past three years in Jack Hughes, or pass on him and take Kaapo Kakko.
Kakko has been ranked and projected as the second-overall pick to the New York Rangers when they get to Vancouver for the draft. Although Kakko is clearly ahead of everyone besides Hughes, he still has some minor flaws to his NHL-ready game.
Defensive Zone Play
As a young winger, Kakko naturally has some downside to his defensive zone play, being that he will not be as involved as a centerman would be in his own zone. He has solid positioning and is a willing defensive player, but it is safe to say his offensive awareness is much higher than his defensive acumen.
Play Without the Puck
Kakko is obviously atop the draft prospects list in terms of his play when he has possession of the puck. However, when the puck is not on his stick he still has some learning to do. Whether it be the offensive zone or his game in transition, Kakko is definitely a better player when he has the puck, and will need to learn how to play without it on his stick when he reaches the NHL.
A 6-2 190 pound frame for an 18-year-old winger is far from a bad size to be at, but Kakko still needs to fill out that frame. With that being said, he is not at fault for being so young, and will fill out as he matures throughout his career. But as of right now it could be seen as a flaw when he goes against grown men and the best hockey players the world has to offer in the NHL.