from Darren Yourk of TSN,
Kaapo Kakko’s string of highlight-reel plays at the world hockey championship are generating a lot of buzz, but his strong performance isn’t enough to knock American centre Jack Hughes out of the top spot in TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button’s latest NHL mock draft at the conclusion of the third round of the playoffs.
The 18-year-old Finnish right winger has six goals through seven preliminary round games at the tournament in Slovakia, lighting up social media with his dazzling puck skills. Hughes is also playing in the tournament, managing just one assist in six games for the Americans before he was a healthy scratch for Tuesday’s game against Canada.
“If New Jersey wants a winner, they should pick Kakko,” Finnish coach Jukka Jalonen told the New York Times this week. “…Hughes is a great player as well, but in the important games, Kakko has always been better. He is already playing like a man. He could play in the NHL right now, and in a few months, he will be even better. After a few years, he will be one of the best players in the world.”
Still, the top of Button’s mock draft remains unchanged: Hughes to the New Jersey Devils at No. 1, followed by Kakko to the New York Rangers.