Kaapo Kakko doesn't believe there's any pressure as the projected top European prospect for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Kakko (6-foot-1, 187 pounds), 17, certainly hasn't looked out of place at right wing on the top line with center Rasmus Kupari (Los Angeles Kings) and Aarne Talvitie (New Jersey Devils) for Finland at the World Junior Summer Showcase this week at Sandman Centre. He's made good decisions and has exhibited elusiveness and toughness.
"There's no real pressure; it's a great opportunity for me to play the game and begin the season in Finland's top league (with TPS)," Kakko said through an interpreter. "I need to show that I can be the No. 1 guy."
Kakko had 55 points (25 goals, 30 assists) in 38 games in Finland's second division last season. He also had one assist in six games for TPS in Liiga but is expected to earn a full-time role this season. He scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) alongside Kupari and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (Montreal Candiens) in seven games to help Finland win the gold medal at the IIHF 2018 World Under-18 Championship in April.