Our top list of draft prospects in Europe for 2019
Better get used to his name as Kaapo Kakko will join a great legion of Finnish born players who are starts in this league such as Patrik Laine, Aleksander Barkov and Sebastian Aho. He is not alone as the 2019 NHL draft is full of great players trained in Europe, competing for a top spot.
Here in this article, we make a top four list of the prospects available in Europe and give you all the information on them and whether they can help your team in the near future!
1. Kaapo Kakko (FIN) - RW - TPS (Finnish Liiga)
When we talk about the NHL draft and the future of certain franchises are changed by special players from last year’s selections like Rasmus Dahlin, Auston Matthews, and Connor McDavid.
While Kakko’s story is still to be written on the North American ice, his development in Europe is bright so far.
Playing for TPS in Finland’s top league, he is playing against men instead of junior hockey players which gives him a distinct advantage when compared to other "local" players.
At the moment this article is being written, he has scored 23 points (12 goals and 11 assists) in 31 games for his club.
He has added a piece of silverware from the World Junior Championships this season in which many were impressed with his skills.
2. Vasili Podkolzin (RUS) - RW - SKA-1946 ST. Petersburg (MHL)
Vasili Podkolzin is an interesting offensive winger that comes from the MHL which is the development league for the KHL. Playing for powerhouse SKA ST. Petersburg’s affiliated team, he is in the right place at the right time ahead of his NHL draft eligibility.
While only playing 12 games for his junior team this year, he has played for his national team in levels Under 18 and Under 20 for 27 games.
He is getting the taste of the professional level in the KHL for three games and nine in the VHL (The Russian second league - similar to an AHL affiliation).
Winning the Bronze in the world junior championship the native of the Russian capital Moscow, Vasili’s only disadvantage is when he is looked at by GM's, as the newest rise of KHL economy and level of play.
Playing for SKA where a team can match or even offer more than a maximum NHL entry-level contract might be a risk some teams won't be willing to make.
3. Philip Broberg (SWE) - D - AIK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Nowadays with the imaginary of the NHL for Swedish players, is a big offensive defenseman, Philip Broberg won't disappoint many fans’ expectations with his big reach and classy puck control throughout the ice.
Playing in the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan (the second highest league of the country) and with more than 30 games as a pro on his resumé, Broberg while not physical enough for the self-image of the NHL defenseman is playing against men which is the best development possible for his position.
He plays a big role in the Swedish national U-18 team that will host the World Juniors of his age later in April. This is a big chance for him to prove himself and showcase his skills after Sweden failed to impress in the U-20 competition.
4. Nils Höglander (SWE) - LW - Rögle BK (SHL)m
While many rankings have Nils Höglander as a late first-round draft pick, his recent display in the SHL for Rögle BK shows he recorded 18 points so far.
The offensive and skillful left-winger was snubbed by Sweden U20 Juniors team and since then went on his best form and has attracted the eyes of a lot of scouts lately.
As the trend of switching the bigger profile of players to faster and smaller players in NHL becomes more and more clear, Nils is the modern hockey player with speed, skill, and a great capacity to score goals. He could go as a sleeper in the draft to help many teams.
Playing in the third best league in the world, he has a contract that doesn’t run out until 20/21. If you take as an example Elias Petterson, he stayed one more year to gain more experience and then arrived in the NHL with the full potential he is possesses.
He is eligible for the World Juniors U18 and that home tournament could be a big a chance for him to show more NHL teams what he is capable of.
Will Kakko be a franchise level player? Did we miss any player on the list? Comment in the section below!