Opinion: Torn on Rangers’ Kakko

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With the NHL trade deadline right around the corner, now is a good time to talk about an enigma that plays for the New York Rangers.

This puzzling player is Kaapo Kakko. Kakko, 23, was taken with the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and ever since then, he has been a tough player to figure out.

Related Post: What Matt Rempe Brings to the Rangers: Rookie Makes a Unique Debut in the Stadium Series

On one hand, he definitely has some positive qualities. For starters, he knows how to use his size.

At 6’2”, he can push players off the puck, can control the puck in the offensive zone along the boards, can drive hard to the net even with a player all over him, and he can take up a lot of room in front of the net. The Blueshirts do not have many big players, so his size is definitely more than welcome on their current roster.

Secondly, he has great hands. He can dangle with the puck, he can make sneaky passes, and he can get around players with a smooth deke.

He also has a great shot. He can pick corners, he can hammer the puck if given the room to do so, and he can beat goalies cleanly.

Kakko has shown flashes of all of the above. When he has done so, he has looked every bit like a second-overall pick.

The problem is that, more often than not, he has looked like a disappointment. For starters, he does not produce on a consistent basis.

Related Post: Rangers Depth Playing a Significant Role in Team’s Success This Season

In 274 games, Kakko has 109 points on 51 goals and 58 assists. These kinds of numbers certainly do not mimic a player who was taken as a second-overall pick.

Secondly, his play is often inconsistent. There are times when he is really noticeable, such as in Monday night’s 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars (game-winning goal), and there are other times when it is kind of a ho-hum night for him.

Lastly, as someone who plays on the third line, he does not get a ton of minutes of ice time. He is currently (As of Wednesday, February 21) averaging 13:17 minutes of ice time per game this season, which does not exactly give him a lot of time to be a point producer.

This is why it will be a tough decision at the trade deadline. He has shown flashes of brilliance, is still really young, and has actually played really well over his last handful of games (two goals and three assists for five points). Things like this would tell someone that he is worth keeping and letting him continue to grown under Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette.

On the other hand, he has been with the team since 2019-20 and since then, has not shown steady progress. That would certainly tell someone that it might be time to move him to a team to give him a fresh start.

What would you do if you were Rangers’ general manager, Chris Drury? I sure as heck do not know!

Guest Jack : Playoffs on the Horizon Ranting Rangers: A New York Rangers Podcast

In this weeks episode Jack comes on to breakdown this Rangers team, with the playoffs being less then 2 weeks away.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.
  1. Guest Jack : Playoffs on the Horizon
  2. All Time High Vibes
  3. Guest Josh Khalfin
  4. The Encouraging but Injury Concerning Backend
  5. Guest Tyler McGillick

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Zach Werenski looking to pass up ice

Columbus Blue Jackets Player Grades: Zach Werenski

This is part two of many in the Columbus Blue Jackets Player Grades series. The criteria for grading are in the first part of this series, along with Johnny Gaudreau‘s grade. You can find that here. Zach Werenski Werenski is second in the team’s point standings after Johnny Gaudreau with 53. Out of those points, […]

Read More
Owen Tippett falls in front of Devils goalie, Kaapo Kahkonen.

Devils Shutout in Stadium Series Rematch | 04/13/2024

The New Jersey Devils lost 1-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday in their final road game of the season. It was a low-scoring affair, with the Flyers playing extremely conservatively to keep their playoff hopes alive. With the loss, the Devils fell to 38-38-5, while Philadelphia improved to 38-32-11. Game Recap Period One It […]

Read More

Penguins Drop Out of Playoff Position, Bruins Win 6-4 | 4/13/2024

Boston put an end to Pittsburgh’s 10-game point streak at the PPG Paints Arena on Saturday, April 13th when the Penguins took a 6-4 loss. This loss made the Penguins, unfortunately, drop out of their playoff position. Tristan Jarry had replaced Alex Nedeljkovic, who had his 11th straight start, in the second period… this had […]

Read More