Rangers Select Kaapo Kakko With 2nd Overall Pick in NHL Draft
By Adam Godfrey
The New York Rangers got extremely lucky back in May at the NHL Draft Lottery, moving up from the seventh selection spot to pick No. 2. And they're not going to waste it.
With that, they were put in the best possible position for the NHL Draft, with not having to make the difficult decision between the top two prospects, instead taking whomever the New Jersey Devils pass on.
The Devils took Jack Hughes with the first overall selection, which left the Rangers to select Finnish winger Kaapo Kakko at second overall.
Kakko's draft stock skyrocketed after the IIHF World Juniors around New Year's, and was boosted even more after the IIHF World Championships, where he led a Finland team that had no NHL forwards on the roster to a gold medal.
Kakko was the projected second-overall selection for most of last season, but his performances at the World Juniors and World Championships put him on the same level as Hughes in the eyes of many.
Kakko had many NHL execs considering taking him over Hughes as the first overall selection with his great performances against grown men in Slovakia for the World Championships, and had the Devils potentially rethinking their pick up until they were on the clock.
Kakko is probably the most NHL-ready prospect, and should be on the Rangers roster come the fall, likely even on their top line alongside Mika Zibanejad, and on their power play unit as well.