Kaapo Kakko added to his highlight reel, so the Devils and Rangers of course took notice.
The Finnish star, who is expected to be a top-two pick in the NHL draft next month, scored twice in his country’s 3-1 win over Canada in the preliminary round of the IIHF World Championships on Friday. It was the opening goal – his second was an empty netter – that caught peoples’ attention.
Kakko took a between-the -leg pass in the middle of the neutral zone, split two defenders and beat them to the net after while maintaining his balance after being tripped. When he got there, he faked a shot and flipped the puck to this backhand while skating across the crease to eventually beat Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Matt Murray for a 1-0 lead.
The Rangers, who hold the second pick in the draft, tweeted out the Googly Eyes emoji in reaction to the goal at about 10:25 a.m. The Devils, holders of the top pick, went a step further about five minutes later when they tweeted a GIF of the goal along with two of the same emojis. It was one of a number of Kakko-related tweets by the Devils, who often did the same for expected No. 1 pick Jack Hughes during the IIHF Men’s World U18 Championship in late May.
Regardless whether they land with the Rangers or Devils, Hughes and Kakko will likely be compared for years to come.
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