While speaking on Monday, before he returned to Finland, Kaapo Kakko said that he is trying to take his scratch in Game Six as motivation for next season and to show that he is a “good player” that should be in the lineup. (NYR)
He said that he doesn’t think that his scratch in Game Six will impact his future as an RFA. (NYR)
Rangers President and GM Chris Drury said on Wednesday that he and Kakko had a “real good discussion” before Kakko returned to Finland and that “there’s obviously a lot of belief from me and the staff” about his future. (The Athletic, NY Post)
Kakko said that he felt the Kid line didn’t play that much, but that when they were on the ice “good things happened.” (NYR)
He said that he felt he “wasn’t good enough” before his injury, but that he thinks he may have played “the best hockey” he ever played in the playoffs. (NYR)
Kakko said that he thinks he is a better player after the playoffs. (NYR)
Adam Rotter: It will come down to whether Kakko wants to be a Ranger or not. The noise around his future after being scratched has died down a bit, especially with Gallant and Drury’s comments, but what else are they going to say? That he isn’t a player with high upside that they want in their top six? Doing that would only decrease his value.
Still, the feeling from some around the league is that Kakko will remain with the Rangers and the question will be what kind of term he gets. It’s not hard to envision Kakko signing the same type of deal that Filip Chytil did coming out of entry-level, two-years at $2.3 million per season. That would give the Rangers another two seasons to see how Kakko develops and give them a bit more flexibility in that if he does break out next season, that they won’t need to work on extensions for him, Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller in the same offseason. Filip Chytil also needs a new contract next summer as well.
Unless Kakko decides he wants a change and is going to actively explore the offer sheet route, I don’t think he’s going to get traded. Chris Drury has shown a lot of patience in his brief time as GM and won’t move Kakko at his lowest value, at least not in a small trade. I don’t think he’s untouchable anymore and if there was a cost controlled gamebreaking type of player that becomes available, then that might be different, but if Kakko wants to continue to be a Ranger he will continue to be a Ranger.