Kaapo Kakko to skip out on NHL Combine

The projected second overall pick will not be in Buffalo this weekend

Brayton Wilson
May 28, 2019 - 12:43 pm

Photo: Martin Rose - Getty Images


The projected second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft will not be in Buffalo this weekend to take part in the NHL Combine.

The NHL announced on Tuesday that six players, who had been invited to participate in the NHL Combine at HarborCenter, will not be in attendance, including Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko.

Kakko just finished playing at the IIHF World Championship on Sunday, helping Team Finland to a gold medal victory over Team Canada. In 10 games for the Finns, Kakko didn't look out of place as an 18-year-old with six goals and seven points.

Kakko put up some stellar numbers in the Finnish-Liiga this season, playing with TPS Turku in his first full professional season in the league's top division. Kakko scored 22 goals in 45 games this season with TPS, which set a new record for goals by an 18-year-old. He also registered 16 assists for a point total of 38.

At the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver, Kakko scored the game-winning goal for Finland late in the third period of the gold medal game against the United States. He ended the tournament with two goals and five points in seven games played.

It is expected that the New Jersey Devils will take American center Jack Hughes with the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, leaving Kakko to the New York Rangers with the second pick. However, with Kakko's play as the season went along, the gap between the two players has diminished significantly. There remains the outside chance that the Devils will elect to take Kakko with the first overall pick when they take to the stage on June 21 in Vancouver.

Hughes will take part in the NHL Combine, and is already reportedly in Buffalo to gear up for the interviewing process and workouts.

The NHL Draft gets started on Friday, June 21 with the first round of the draft, followed by Rounds 2-7 on Saturday, June 22.

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