Please Don’t Rush Kakko

Turun Sanomat

Kaapo Kakko (Turun Sanomat)

Look New York Ranger fans were jumping for joy when the New Jersey Devils announced that they were picking Jack Hughes with the first pick of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. That meant the people’s choice Kaapo Kakko was the pick of the New York Rangers at two.

There is no arguing that Kakko is the most talented prospect the Rangers have selected since the Rangers drafted somebody named Henrik in 2000. But honestly my own personal fear is that the Rangers will mismanage Kakko’s development. Now before you jump all over me, the Rangers have this very bad habit of forcefeeding their prospects to the NHL before they were ready.

From Dan Blackburn to Manny Malholtra to Michael Del Zotto to Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, the Rangers wanting to show that they are serious about rebuilding have rushed talented players to the NHL before they were ready. Now there remains hope for Andersson and Chytil, the others never reached their potential thanks in large part to mismanagement by the Rangers front office.

Kaapo Kakko has all the skills to become a special player for the Rangers so I beg the Rangers to allow him to develop at his own speed and skill set. If he is NHL ready then he will show it right away but if he needs some time then give it to him.

Kakko is just 18 and the world will not end if he needs some seasoning in Hartford. People might not realize that Kakko has to adjust and adapt to a more physical brand of hockey. NHL Hockey is played on smaller ice surfaces and is way more talented than the Finnish Liiga is.

Let him learn to play with his young peers like Vitali Kravtsov and the already mentioned Andersson and Chytil. There is not a thing wrong with those prospects playing together and developing chemistry in Hartford.

Please just don’t rush him. I so badly want him to become a star.

Day One Notes:

It is a good thing that most Ranger fans don’t pay attention to NBCSN for if they had many might have had a heart attack when they saw a graphic that said Henrik Lundqvist had been traded to the Devils.

It was part of what is the norm, poor NHL coverage from NBC and NBCSN. From dumb questions (Hello Kathryn Tappen) asked of players and GMs to not even knowing where players are from (“Kakko can learn from his fellow Swede Mika Zibanejad”).

Please get the NHL some announcers who have their act together, steal Linda Cohn, Steve Levy and John Buccigross from ESPN. Those three have forgotten more hockey than the clowns at NBC.

Nobody got traded which should come as no surprise as NHL GMs have no idea what the 2019-2020 salary cap will be so few were willing to take on salary. It might have been a first when only one deal was made during the first round.

I can see Jeff Gorton using one second round pick to select a player and then use one to trade for more picks most likely in next year’s draft.

Taking a wild guess the Rangers including RFAs have 43 players until contract. That leaves just seven open spots to be offered NHL deals.

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