Looking At Kaapo Kakko’s Restricted Free Agency

In what would prove to be their final game of the season last night, a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals, the New York Rangers made the surprising choice to list forward Kaapo Kakko as a healthy scratch in favor of Dryden Hunt. It would be fair to say Kakko, the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, has not played up to projections so far in his young career, however given the team’s choice to scratch forward Ryan Reaves and the apparent severity of Ryan Strome’s injury, along with the developing chemistry between Kakko and linemates Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil, seeing Kakko sit was a surprise to say the least.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks, who covers the Rangers, wrote this morning examining an interesting parallel between Kakko and another Finnish forward, Jesperi Kotkaniemi (link). Brooks looks at the similarities between the two players from being drafted, the hype around them, and their young careers, Kakko’s with the Rangers, Kotkaniemi’s with the Montreal Canadiens. Brooks also addresses Kotkaniemi’s healthy scratch in Games Four and Five of last year’s Stanley Cup Final in comparison to Kakko’s healthy scratch last night.

Author: Lucy Green