Team: Tappara U20
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 196
REPORT: TAPPARA @ HIFK U20, SEPTEMBER 14, 2018
Kukkonen played over 26 minutes and recorded two assists for Tappara U20 in a 4-3 win over HIFK. He showed great vision on the primary assist, finding Arttu Tuomaala’s stick with a great backdoor pass from the blueline. He moved the puck well out of the zone, making accurate and crisp breakouts. He played with a bit of an edge, engaging physically at times and laying a couple of heavy hits in the game. While not a particularly explosive skater, Kukkonen is mobile with good foot speed. Although he wasn’t as consistent as his defensive partner Iivari Räsänen, there is a lot to like about Kukkonen’s offensive vision and ability to get pucks up the ice. The Buffalo Sabres fifth rounder has some nice potential as a two-way defenseman – I think this pick could really pay off in a few years.