Kaapo Kakko’s performance at the IIHF World Championships either has Rangers fans very excited or decidedly nervous.
The Finnish forward netted a hat trick on Saturday against Slovakia to give him five goals in two games during the tournament.
The 18-year-old topped his day off with an empty netter, but this fancy goal from behind the net for his second of the day was especially fancy.
Kaapo Kakko is a five-finger fat cap on a can of Rusto black — Thick and sick.
Four goals in two games. pic.twitter.com/wqa6orgzPw
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) May 11, 2019
Kakko is widely viewed as one of the top two prospects in June’s upcoming draft, and for the most part, he has been seen as the second-best player behind American forward Jack Hughes.
Hughes has been favored to be the No. 1 pick in the draft since last year and has done nothing to suggest he isn’t still a great prospect, but as well as Kakko has played of late, there have started to be conversations as to whether he may actually be worthy of the top spot.
Five goals, including two against one of the best teams in the tournament in Canada on Friday, might be just the thing to earn him that top spot.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) May 10, 2019
The Devils may have a choice to make — do they want to add Kakko to play alongside Taylor Hall on the first line, or do they want Hughes to run their second or third initially and then become a compliment to Hall like Evgeni Malkin is to Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh?
In all honesty, New Jersey is the lucky one because it gets to choose. Now the Rangers have to wait to see what the Devils do which is never fun, especially after possibly falling in love with Kakko who has been stellar this weekend.
The NHL Draft is scheduled for Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22.