STAMFORD, Conn. -- The past week has been life-changing for Kaapo Kakko, and he has spent that week under a spotlight that has never been so bright in his life. He arrived in Vancouver with most of the eyes and cameras trained on him and one other prospect. On Friday night he stepped onto the mantle, and into the Blueshirt, as the No. 2 pick in the NHL Draft. On Sunday he stepped foot in New York City for the very first time.
Monday, then, was a chance for him to return to a place that has always been familiar, somewhere he knows he always belongs: Kakko was back on ice again, and for the first time wearing his new Rangers colors.
He has won three major international tournaments in the past year; he has broken records in his home country's domestic league; he fulfilled his dream of being drafted into the NHL. Where does Kaapo Kakko go from here?
"It's easy. My next goal is to play in the NHL next season," Kakko said on Monday. "So that's it."
Kakko was speaking after the 2019 Rangers Prospect Development Camp kicked off on Monday morning at Chelsea Piers Connecticut. There are 37 players on the roster for the weeklong camp, seven of whom were drafted by the club on Saturday afternoon, and one other, Kakko, who was the Blueshirts' prize in Friday night's first round.