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Leafs select Mikko Kokkonen 84th overall

With their second pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected defenceman Mikko Kokkonen at 84th overall.

Described as an intelligent skater that used his maturity to play among men in the Finnish Liiga, Kokkonen has been widely accepted as a steal in this draft class.

Sometimes ranked as high as a first-round talent, the Finnish left-handed defenceman joins other skillful European blueliners such as Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren in the Leafs’ prospect pool.

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With Jukurit this season, Kokkonen was able to score three goals and 19 points in 56 games. Sitting at 0.34 pts/GP, which is higher than what Stars phenom Miro Heiskanen had in his draft year (0.27).

Here’s one scouting report of the Finnish defenceman:

Kokkonen has been a full-time player in the Liiga this season. He has 10 points in 21 games which is historically good production for a 17-year-old defenseman. Kokkonen is a reliable two-way defenseman who does everything well but doesn’t excel in any aspect of the game. He isn’t a flashy player by any means but he gets the job done both offensively and defensively. He’s very mature for his age both physically and mentally which has allowed him to play a significant role at the pro level. Kokkonen should be a lock for the World Juniors. — Jokke Nevalainen (November 2018)

This pick overall is an example of a safe, but still high-ceiling pick. Kokkonen is safe on both sides of the ice, not flashy, but can also have a high level of success when he comes over to North America.

The expectation is that he will remain in Finland with Jukurit in the 2019-20 season.

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