Kaapo Kakko Has Opted Out of the NHL Scouting Combine, As Jack Hughes Inches Closer to Becoming a New Jersey Devil
First and foremost, I'm quite certain that there isn't anything that Kaapo Kakko could prove on a pull-up bar that he didn't already prove by physically overwhelming a laundry list of NHLers in helping to will his country to an international title for a third time prior to his 19th birthday...
That being said, if we're working under the somewhat uneducated assumption that he'd have to ace every single test to claim the spot atop the Devils' draft board then going full-on Ferris Bueller in playing hooky during the most notable one remaining only stands to hurt his case. Like, if Ray Shero and the gang are sitting at 51/49 in favor of Hughes as we speak then it would take something patently ridiculous like Jack skinning his knee falling off a stationary bike, suffering from vertigo during his vertical jump, or literally choking on his tongue during the interview process for him to drop to second overall.
Swinging his proverbial sword as a workout warrior might seem like a small and unnecessary feat for a man-child who spent full shifts protecting the puck like he gave birth to it during the World Championships. However, with the scale being so close to balanced, simply showing up and stepping on it could have theoretically made a difference for Kaapo Kakko. With him staying home to celebrate, it sort of feels as though not much is being left to the imagination of inquiring minds. Of course, my jaw wouldn't completely drop if the full-bodied Fin were the choice when Ray Shero takes the stage on June 21st, but my eyes would at least widen with him opting out of one last pre-draft audition. All signs were already pointing to Jack Hughes becoming a New Jersey Devil, and the absence of the near-consensus second best prospect at the combine is yet another one of them.