Somewhat quietly last night, the New York Rangers activated both Kaapo Kakko and Kevin Rooney from injured reserve, per CapFriendly.
The news couldn’t come at a better time, as the team just lost a Trade Deadline acquisition, Tyler Motte, to an upper-body injury for an indefinite length of time.
Kakko and Rooney were both playing important roles for the Rangers prior to their injuries, but after the team’s multiple moves at the deadline to solidify their depth, it’s unclear Kakko can slot back into the lineup. While Kakko, who has been out since late January with an upper-body injury, had just five goals and 14 points in 37 games, he spent the majority of his time on the top line with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad. With the success Frank Vatrano has had in that role since coming over from Florida, though, it’s unlikely Kakko slots back into a top-six role for their impending playoff run. Rooney’s role is more solidified, and he’ll undoubtedly replace the mixture of Jonny Brodzinski and Greg McKegg in the team’s fourth-line center spot.
Kakko does still provide value in his return to the lineup, however. After a horrific rookie season defensively, he’s bounced back strongly in the past two seasons to become one of the team’s better defensive forwards at even strength, although he’s not used on the penalty kill. With the Rangers improving drastically in terms of even-strength possession numbers after the deadline, Kakko’s return should only increase that trend.
He’ll join the third line w/LaF and ease in.
Are Kakko and Lafreniere underachieving personally, were they overhyped or are the Rangers sabotaging their development?
What’s going on there?
Lias Andersson, howdon, kravtsov, Havek…
Kreider, Fox, Shesterkin…
They’re not. Sometimes it takes a couple of years, or more before they get their footing and produce. Too many players to mention that began like this and then blossomed.