2019 Draft Countdown No. 50-46: Mikko Kokkonen, Mads Søgaard, Ryan Johnson, Nolan Foote, Maxim Cajkovic

Welcome to Canucks Army’s 2019 Draft Countdown. Over the next four weeks leading up to the draft, we’ll be rounding up scouting reports, quotes, and videos about our Top-100 prospects available. Here are aggregated profiles on 2019 Draft Countdown: Mikko Kokkonen, Mads Søgaard, Ryan Johnson, Nolan Foote, and Maxim Cajkovic.

No. 50: Mikko Kokkonen

Date of birth: January 18th, 2001

Nation: Finland

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Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

Height: 5’11″ / 181 cm

Weight: 198 lbs / 90 kg

Profile: The smart skater has been able to stay in the Finnish Liiga for the entire season, except for one three-point game, demonstrating his maturity at such a young age on the ice. 

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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)

Kokkonen was playing on Finland’s top pairing in their tournament opener against Canada. Finland was playing with seven defencemen, which meant that Kokkonen wasn’t playing as much at even-strength as usual, but he was used regularly on the penalty kill.

Kokkonen did not have a standout performance. His mobility and edgework did not look that good, and he made uncharacteristic mistakes with the puck in his own zone. For example, he bounced the puck off the boards in a few situations when there was a clear passing option. Overall I thought that he looked very hesitant with the puck. In the offensive zone, Kokkonen made a couple of smart passes and did a good job at delivering the puck to the net, but did nothing too fancy. Defensively he had some trouble at keeping up with the pace of the game but compensated for it with solid positioning and physical play. — Lassi Alanen (Finland vs. Canada U18)

No. 49: Mads Søgaard

Date of birth: December 13th, 2000

Nation: Denmark

Position: Goaltender

Catches: Left

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Height: 6’7″ / 200 cm

Weight: 196 lbs / 89 kg

Profile: A towering goaltender has found success in his second season in North America and his first in the WHL. His .921 save percentage in 37 appearances ranks fifth among all goaltenders in the WHL.

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With the stretch run coming up to the playoffs nearing, Søgaard was playing some of his best hockey in early February. The Medicine Hat Tigers goaltender was named the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the first week of the month after posting a 3-0-0-0 record, finishing with a 1.30 GAA and .960 SV%. The award marked the second time he walked away with the honour this year after being named the top goalie for December 10-16, just before he went to play with Denmark at the World Juniors. He joined Dustin Wolf as the only goalie to win it twice during the regular season this year and after winning the WHL’s Top Goaltender award twice as well, it’s clear that the big netminder is a favourite to be considered for the Del Wilson Trophy as the top goalie in the Western league. While there are concerns regarding the number of times he puts himself out of position, his size allows him to absorb most of the net and forces the opposition to get creative. He doesn’t flop around and tracks one timers fairly well while giving shooters little to shoot at from east to west. — Steven Ellis 

No. 48: Ryan Johnson

Date of birth: July 24th, 2001

Nation: United States

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’0″ / 183 cm

Weight: 161 lbs / 73 kg

Profile: Committed to the University of Minnesota next year, the speedy defender has the tools to turn into a high-calibre player, but the production is not there yet. Highly mobile.

Johnson is very mobile, and can escape the opposition with his agility. In his zone, forecheckers sent to strip him of the puck are often left behind by his cutbacks as he waits for them to get close, fakes going in one direction, and uses his edges to turn the other way to gain the open ice.

His feet are his best asset. He never feels trapped even against a heavy forechecking system as he can quickly and smoothly escape with the puck. — David St. Louis

No. 47: Nolan Foote

Date of birth: November 29th, 2000

Nation: Canada

Position: Left Winger

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’3″ / 191 cm

Weight: 187 lbs / 85 kg

Profile: A forward not afraid to get physical, the main area of potential improvement would be his skating. Not flashy, but has shown some ability to be able to make an impact.

Scouts are looking for consistency in areas other than goal scoring. Blueprint game was Nov. 5 as a member of Team WHL versus Russia, where he didn’t record a point. — Sam Cosentino

Foote’s biggest asset is his puck protection, which allows him to get to his spot without needing to be particularly fleet of foot … He’s one of the safer prospects in the draft, even if he’s not going to be a first-line forward. — Scott Wheeler

No. 46: Maxim Cajkovic

Date of birth: January 3rd, 2001

Nation: Slovakia

Position: Right Winger/Left Winger

Shoots: Right

Height: 5’11″ / 180 cm

Weight: 187 lbs / 85 kg

Profile: One of the best skaters in this class, Cajkovic had an impressive debut season in North America with the Saint John Sea Dogs. Broke out at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, considered to be a first-round possibility.

A big man who skates like the wind. Improving his stick skills will allow him to put more deception into his game, which will improve his output. — Sam Cosentino

One of the more powerful skating strides in this class. At his size, his ability to wheel out of the zone is remarkable. Lacks the puck-handling skills necessary to be proficient offensively at it at this stage though. — Cam Robinson

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  • Hockey Bunker

    Of this group Cajkovic is the one I like best for his skating. Foote is a poor skater who gets a lot of typical junior hockey goals, standing still or coasting .

  • jaybird43

    I’ve seen a fair bit of Foote here in Kelowna. He looks like a low ceiling guy, and for that reason, would not favour him as a pick before the fifth round.

  • JaniK

    Was a bit surprised Nolan Foote is this low on the rankings, but then I realized I was remembering the Nolan Foote I drafted in Fantasy Hockey Manager 4 and he turned out to be a stud for the Canucks for a decade. Oh the memories of future past that never was..

  • Cageyvet

    It’s not a positional need right now, but the big goalie is tempting. He’s huge, can obviously make some great saves, and it sounds like his tendency to be out of position is exactly the sort of thing Ian Clarke fixes, bringing out the best in his students. Even if you don’t want to draft him, keep an eye on opportunities to snag him in a trade while he’s still young.