Arthur Staple wrote in The Athletic last week that the Rangers and Kaapo Kakko are working on his next contract “without many hitches.”
He says that the deal will likely be in the $2 million range for one or two seasons, but that Kakko’s name had still been involved in trade conversations. (The Athletic)
Chris Drury said on Wednesday that the Rangers “think the world” of Kakko and want him to be a Ranger “for a long, long time.” (NY Post)
Larry Brooks writes that “it’s safe to say” that Kakko’s next contract will likely be a two-year deal at around $2.4 million per season. (NY Post)
Adam Rotter: Many around the league believe that Kakko’s new deal will be signed within a week or so and that the chances of him being moved at this point are slim. I don’t think he, or Filip Chytil, were ever close to being moved and there is some debate from people around the league about whether his name was out there because teams kept asking about him or if the Rangers were actually willing to move him in the right deal. Nothing materialized on the trade front and an offer sheet, while not impossible, seems unlikely.
He’s likely going to get a very similar contract to Filip Chytil’s 2-years, $2.3 million cap hit and be given the opportunity over the first 2/3 of the season to play in the top-six and show that he is taking the necessary next steps in his fourth year. Hopefully he can play a big role, get 20 or so goals, some PP time and show he is a big part of the core. If not then it wouldn’t be a shock if he is used at the deadline to acquire a big-time rental or traded next summer to free up cap space.
It’s not for sure a make or break season for his future with the Rangers, but his scratch against Tampa Bay changed the perception of his situation. He went from being a player that took a few steps forward in the playoffs and played on the Rangers most consistent line to someone benched, for seemingly no reason, in their biggest game of the year. He went from being someone that you were going into the offseason feeling good about to someone that was now being talked about as a trade piece, offer sheet candidate or someone who may want out. None of that happens if he plays in Game Six and ultimately none of it will matter if he’s a consistent top-six producer for the Rangers this year. Hopefully he is that guy and in two-years he signs a long-term deal to stay with the Rangers, otherwise he might finish next season in Chicago or Vancouver.