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Meskanen Seizes Opportunity, Signs With Rangers

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

Ville Meskanen said all he needed was a chance.

He was given one on Thursday when he signed with the Rangers out of Finland.

"I'm so happy," he said from his home in Tampere, where he played for Ilves of Finland's Liiga. "It's crazy what the opportunity is from the Rangers. It's a dream come true.

"It's an Original Six [team]. A huge team, a nice rink and a nice city," he added. "I don't know anything better than New York and the Rangers."

The 22-year-old is coming off a strong campaign with Ilves, posting 24 goals and 20 assists for 44 points in just 48 games. Those numbers were all career-highs for the winger, with his goal total being third-highest in Liiga, while his nine power play goals were sixth.

Meskanen led all players 22 years old and younger in goals and points during the season, and had 13 multi-point games.

"I'm an offensive style of player who likes to score and make plays in the offensive zone," 
he said. "I like to score goals, no matter what."

What does he attribute for that success? 

"I think the big thing was my confidence," he said. "I played at the start of the season and got some goals. That was the big thing for success for me. That's a huge thing. [Confidence] is also why I came to the Rangers. My confidence is at its best. I think I can do good things for the Rangers."

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Meskanen now has the summer to prepare for his first camp with the Rangers, with the goal of finding his name on the opening night roster in October.

"Of course," Meskanen said when asked if feels he can make the jump immediately to the NHL. "I'm going to train hard this summer. I have to if I want to be a Ranger. I'm going to give it all for that."

The next stop for Meskanen will be the organization's development camp following the NHL Draft in late June, his first chance to see the Rangers' practice facility, meet future teammates and get a chance to visit New York City.

"I'm so excited for all of this for what's going to happen the next couple of months and after that," he said with a laugh. "Everything is going to be new for me. I'm really excited for that."

It all came back to an opportunity give to him. In the end, that opportunity made his decision to join the Rangers a simple one.

"The Rangers made the choice easy for me," Meskanen said. "They really want me and I want to go to New York and join the Rangers. They're giving me a chance, and that's all I really need."

Photos courtesy of Jussi Kankaanpaa/ Ilves

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