As the Traverse City is about to begin its round-robin event on Friday, one New York Rangers rookie, Kaapo Kakko, might not be available.
The New York Rangers held a practice at the team’s Tarrytown facility for prospects on Thursday, but there was one noticeable absence: Kaapo Kakko. The second-overall pick in this year’s draft did not participate in practice, per Jon Lane of NHL.com.
Kakko, 18, was feeling under the weather and the club decided to keep him off the ice in the hope that he will feel better in time for Friday’s opening game. The Rangers prospects are set to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Kakko made the trip to Michigan where his status will be re-evaluated. The faceoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET. Other prospects playing are Adam Fox, Vitali Kravtsov and Igor Shesterkin.
Kravtsov, who is expected to make the team out of training camp, spent most of the offseason working out in Connecticut. The 18-year-old is excited to finally play for the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2018 draft.
“I’ve waited for this the whole summer,” Kravtsov told Lane. “I’ve worked hard to show something in Traverse City. A lot of players told me in Traverse City there’s strong hockey. A lot of hits, a lot of fights. It will be great to try it.”
Shesterkin is expected to begin the year in the AHL with the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Russian goaltender was asked prior to heading to Michigan if he has spoken with the team’s number one goalie, Henrik Lundqvist?
“He is ‘King,’” Shesterkin said. “He’s helped me when I’ve spoken with him. But it’s a secret, so I’m not telling you.”
The prospects will also play games against the Dallas Stars on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET and Minnesota on Monday at 2:30 p.m. ET to conclude the round-robin part of the tournament.