BUFFALO -- Kaapo Kakko, expected to be the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, has declined the opportunity to attend the NHL Scouting Combine this week.
The 18-year-old forward (6-foot-2, 194 pounds), who is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters, led Finland with six goals at the 2019 IIHF World Championship to help it win the gold medal with a 3-1 victory against Canada on Sunday. He had one shot on goal in 11:58 of ice time in the final.
The team was honored in a celebration in Helsinki on Monday, and the festivities are expected to continue throughout the week.
"Kaapo is not skipping the Combine, but circumstances such as a late World Championship schedule and country celebration prevent him from attending," Kakko's player agent Mike Liut said in an email to NHL.com.
"It's important to understand the World Championship is the Stanley Cup for countries outside North America."
The combine will feature 103 players taking part in interviews and medical and fitness testing, which started at KeyBank Center and HarborCenter on Monday and runs through Saturday.
Kakko had 38 points (22 goals, 16 assists) in 45 games with TPS in Liiga, Finland's top professional league. His 22 goals set a Liiga record for most in a season by an under-18 player, one more than Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers) scored in 53 games with Tappara in 2012-13.
The 2019 Draft will be at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on June 21-22.
Jack Hughes, a center with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 team, is expected to be the No. 1 pick by the New Jersey Devils. The New York Rangers have the No. 2 pick.
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