New York Rangers Do The Right Thing By Keeping Kakko

Going into this season’s NHL trade deadline, there was a lot of chatter regarding what players the New York Rangers were looking to acquire.

Names like Frank Vatrano, Adam Henrique, Jake Guentzel, Max Pacioretty, and even Mats Zuccarello were tossed around. None of these guys ended up being traded to the Rangers because the players that opposing clubs wanted might have been too much for the Blueshirts to part with.

We are talking about forward Kaapo Kakko. Many of the team’s pundits and fans thought Monday night’s 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden would be the last time they would see Kakko, but the 2024 NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and Kakko, 23, remains on Broadway.

It may not seem like it now, but keeping Kakko might end up being a great decision made by Rangers general manager Chris Drury. For starters, Kakko is still very young.

People have to remember that he is still only 23 years old. He has yet to hit his prime, and due to injuries that he has sustained, his body does not have a lot of mileage 281 games since joining the league in the 2019-20 s.eason

Speaking of potential, that is a big thing when it comes to Kakko. He has the size, hands, and shot to be a very good NHLer and one that can have a positive impact.

Let’s further examine his potential because that is probably the main reason why Drury decided to keep Kakko. Drury has spent a lot of years in the NHL, so he must see something that other observers cannot.

When it comes to his size, Kakko does a lot with his 6’2”, 205 lb frame. He is great at controlling pucks along the boards, winning battles for the pucks in the offensive zone, and shielding the puck away from defenders.

When Kakko has the puck, he has soft hands. He can dangle if allowed to do so, and if he is put with the right players, he can find an open teammate to generate a scoring opportunity.

Kakko also has a terrific shot. His shot is hard, accurate, and deceptive, and Kakko can pick corners with the best of them.

For Kakko to succeed, head coach Peter Laviolette needs to put him around the right players. Playing with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider has not worked out for him.

Right now, Kakko is a player that belongs on the third line. Yes, he was taken with the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, but it is time for both fans and the franchise to realize what they currently have in him.

You may not realize it now, but keeping Kakko is going to be beneficial down the line. Patience is a virtue and the team’s fans need to practice it and realize that Kakko is an effective NHLer, just not the kind of effective player that they were hoping for when their favorite team drafted him.

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In this playoff episode we recap the Rangers loss in Game 1 of the ECF.For more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
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Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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