The Toronto Maple Leafs have selected Finnish left-handed defenseman Mikko Kokkonen with the 84th pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. The third-round pick played in Finland’s top tier with Jukurit, putting up 19 points in 56 games. He had three goals in three playoff games before his team was eliminated.
In his rookie season, Kokkonen averaged 17:25 in icetime. He played a bit on the second power play unit in Jukurit, notching one goal and four assists in over 100 minutes, so the majority of his production came at 5v5. Speaking of, the Finnish Liiga carries corsi data. Kokkonen was near the bottom on his team in shot-attempt ratio, coming in at 42% with 40% zone stats in the offensive zone. Personally, Kokkonen was third on his team in shots on goal, but had one of the team’s worst shooting percentages: 1.9%, so his goal numbers ended up way lower than what it could’ve been.
Kokkonen was ranked 67th on Bob McKenzie’s list. He will be on Team Finland at the World Junior Summer Showcase this summer.
Derek from Defending Big D ranked Kokkonen 68th overall in his mock draft.
All About the Jersey wrote a profile on Kokkonen, which has a lot of very good information on him.
Habs Eyes on the Prize also likes Kokkonen as a solid pick who doesn’t have massive upside, but does all the right things and has a high chance of making the NHL.
Toronto picks Mikko Kokkonen 84th overall. Solid two-way defenceman, but lacks upside. Very mature for his age. pic.twitter.com/BanrLY517J— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) June 22, 2019
Kokkonen is 5’11”, but already 198 lbs and is under contract and expected to play in Finland next season.
Mikko Kokkonen tells Leafs Nation Network that his idol growing up was Kimmo Timomen. Mikko is 5-11 and 190 pounds, built similarily to Kimmo. The Leaf 3rd round pick is expected to play another year in the Liiga. He started last season there as a 17 year old. #leafsforever— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) June 22, 2019
Finn Prospects profiled Kokkonen back in the fall.
“I trained hard the whole summer, and it gave – and gives – a little extra boost for the practices and games to know that this is the draft season. It has always been a big dream for me to be a high draft pick.”
Kokkonen is known as a all-round two-way defenceman. There is one thing though, that he concentrates on in his development.
“I’ve focused mainly on my skating, I want it to be one of my biggest strengths. Both to make it smoother and also faster of course.”
All About the Jersey have some good young defensemen and used that knowledge to make some nice comparables.
Kokkonen comes across as effective on the breakout and an effective transition defender as well as a player with enough offensive instincts to run a power play and contribute when the opportunity is there. He lacks flashy speed and isn’t the most intimidating physical presence in the world, but he seems to get the job done from the blue line. The picture of his game that starts to form is a player in the mold of Will Butcher, someone who doesn’t always look the part, but makes smart decisions to ultimately be very effective. I don’t know if he’d be my first choice at, say, 34 overall, but I would certainly put him in the pool of defensemen the Devils should be looking at sometime in the second round.