Drafted by Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019 #84
- 2019-04-18 at Canada - Finland, U18 World Championship by Lassi Alanen
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.
- 2019-03-21 at Sport - Jukurit, U20 by Asko Huuki
Kokkonen played for almost 20 minutes in the fifth and decisive quarter-final game against Sport despite missing the most of first period due to penalty. Kokkonen was solid as expected and extremely secure with the puck. He wasn’t as dominant at the defensive zone as I would have expected, but he was naturally one of the best defenders at the own end. At this level, he was able to show his really good offensive skill couple of times, especially at the time when he almost scored a coast to coast goal.
- 2019-02-22 at HIFK - Jukurit, Liiga by Asko Huuki
Kokkonen has taken a big role in Jukurit defence, especially after Jukurit sold couple of defenders. Against HIFK, Kokkonen got 19:30 of ice time, the most from the defenders of his team. He played in the second power play unit and he also got responsibility in penalty kill.
Kokkonen is a reliable two-way defenceman. He is solid all-round, but none of his qualities really stands out. He is a decent skater with pretty good defensive game for a player of his age. For sure, his positioning is sometimes off and he could have even more intensity in his game, but these aspects should improve when he matures. His offensive game has translated pretty well to the pro game and while he isn’t flashy, he plays smart and solid passing game.
To me, the biggest question mark with him is his ceiling. He is already very mature player both mentally and physically. While of course these aspects will still improve to some degree, it is somewhat questionable how much he can still improve. Kokkonen is a smart defenceman though and he jumped to Liiga level relatively easy, something he might be able to do in the future too.
- 2018-10-02 at Jukurit - JYP, Liiga by Asko Huuki
The young defenceman got a primary assist in this game. This was his fifth assist of the season in just eight games in a pro league.
He is getting more and more responsibility in his team and he played in the second power play unit. He also played during the overtime and he was the third player from Jukurit in a shootout. While his shootout attempt didn’t succeed, his effort was really good.
I think the young age still shows up with his play at defensive zone. While he does pretty good job with positioning and checking, he still has some problems with the tempo and physicality in Liiga. He was pushed around occasionally and his decisions with the puck were often hasty. His first passes did not connect and he lost the puck while carrying it couple of times.
However Kokkonen showed his talent at the other end. He joined the rush when necessary and he gave couple of really good and smart passes at the offensive zone. His skating was smooth and his shot seemed to be a dangerous asset. I’m surprised how well his offensive game has translated to Liiga and he really deserves responsibility in a power play at the moment.
- 2018-04-22 at Finland - Russia, U18 World Championship by Asko Huuki
Highlight of the game for Mikko Kokkonen was for sure the primary assist for the game-winning goal. Kokkonen shot the puck to the net and Niklas Nordgren was able to steer the puck past the Russian goaltender. He didn’t get a lot of ice time during the first period, but he was more and more counted on as the game progressed.
Kokkonen played solid allround defensive game. His skating looked pretty good and while he isn’t quicker than the other players, he doesn’t lose in that aspect either. Kokkonen also has decent puck skills, he gives solid passes and he is able to deliver his shots to the goal. He is physically pretty mature and this can be seen in the defensive zone where he is tough to beat along the boards and in front of net.
My biggest concern about him is that while he doesn’t have big weaknesses, he doesn’t really excel at anything either. But he brings fairly good offensive abilities to the table and he shows surprisingly mature defensive game for a player of his age. Kokkonen keeps his game simple and he shows pretty good hockey IQ so even though he might not become especially good at anything, his allround play makes him at least somewhat interesting prospect.
- 2017-11-08 at Finland - Czech Republic, U18 5 Nations Tournament by Asko Huuki
Kokkonen registered two shots against Czech Republic. While he was not spectacular at any way, he played solid two-way game. He has the tools to become decent two-way defenceman but he doesn’t seem to have any abilites that would be particularly impressive.
Still, he is reliable at the own end, he positions well, seems to have good awareness and he has good gap control. He is already physically mature for a player of his age and he uses his strength well. But that also raises a question how high ceiling he has when he cannot improve physical aspects of his game as much as many other players from his age group.
His skating is definitely not bad but it is only average. He occasionally tries to make some creative moves at the offensive zone but his offensive skills are somewhat average and he generated more offense while keeping things simple and focusing on solid and simple passing game.
- 2017-01-18 at HIFK - Jukurit, U20 by Marco Bombino
Kokkonen played over 25 minutes and in key situations, including on the power play, penalty killing and late in the third period when Jukurit was attempting to tie the game. He put his offensive skills on display in the second period, scoring the 2-1 goal with great patience. He also added one primary assist a few minutes later. He is a mobile, strong two-way defenseman and was the cornerstone of Jukurit U20 defense in today’s game.
His positioning was solid. He made a great, smart defensive play in the first period with his stick to intercept a cross-ice pass. He closed gaps well and he was strong in front of his own net. There was also a lot to like about his offensive game. He was willing to join the offense whenever the opportunity presented itself. Had the capability to turn defense quickly into offense. Great playmaking skills and vision at the point. Very good shot selection.
- 2016-10-18 at Jukurit - Ässät by Miika Arponen
Kokkonen became the youngest ever player to play in Liiga, the Finland’s top-tier pro league. He surpassed former NHLer Jesse Joensuu by over two months.
Kokkonen got only 2 minutes and 50 seconds of ice time, so he didn’t really got to show his skillset. However, he didn’t make any mistakes and managed to give the easy pass a few times. He wasn’t outmuscled either.
His playing was probably more a publicity stunt than a real sports achievement, but he is nevertheless one of the best, if not the best defenceman among his age group in Finland.
Articles about Mikko Kokkonen
Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com
|2013-2014||Jukurit U16||Jr. C Mestis||1||0||0||0||0||||
|Jukurit U16||Jr. C Suomi-sarja||3||1||0||1||0||||
|2014-2015||Jukurit U16||Jr. C Suomi-sarja||1||3||1||4||0||||
|Jukurit U18||Jr. B Mestis||4||0||0||0||0||||
|2015-2016||Jukurit U18||Jr. B Mestis Q||13||7||8||15||0||||
|Jukurit U18||Jr. B Mestis||26||16||19||35||12||||
|Jukurit U20||Jr. A Mestis||4||2||2||4||2||||
|2016-2017||Jukurit U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||38||6||20||26||20||||
|Finland U16 (all)||International-Jr||5||1||1||2||0||||
|Finland U17 (all)||International-Jr||14||0||5||5||8||||
|2017-2018||Finland U18||Hlinka Gretzky Cup||4||1||0||1||4||||
|Jukurit U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||14||0||7||7||4||||
|Finland U18 (all)||International-Jr||25||1||8||9||14||||
|2018-2019||Jukurit U18||Jr. B SM-sarja||1||2||1||3||0||||
|Jukurit U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||0||0||0||0||0|||||Playoffs||3||0||3||3||12|
|Finland U18 (all)||International-Jr||13||2||4||6||10||||
|Finland U18||Hlinka Gretzky Cup||4||2||1||3||6||||
|Finland U20 (all)||International-Jr||4||0||2||2||0||||
|2019-2020||Jukurit U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||10||2||1||3||4|||||Playoffs||2||1||1||2||0|
|Finland U20 (all)||International-Jr||14||3||4||7||6||||
Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com