Finland defenseman Henri Jokiharju had high praise for his teammate Kaapo Kakko following a 6-1 semifinal dismantling of Switzerland on Friday, comparing the 17-year-old to one of the most lethal goal scorers in the NHL.
"(Kakko's) going to be No. 1 (pick in 2019 draft)," he added, according to NHL.com's Mike Morreale.
If anyone on Finland has the right to make such comparison, it's certainly Jokiharju. The 19-year-old spent 32 games with the Chicago Blackhawks this season before joining Finland for the world juniors, and in just his second NHL game, he got a front-row view of Matthews' brilliance, as the Maple Leafs' superstar picked up two goals and two assists en route to a wild 7-6 overtime win for Toronto.
Kakko is widely considered the second-best project eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft, and many believe he could push American Jack Hughes for the first overall slot.
Kakko has an impressive 20 points in 27 games in Finland's top professional league, but he could truly leave his mark on the hockey world with a standout performance in Saturday's gold-medal game against Hughes and the United States.