No Rangers currently in New York are expected to opt out

Players like Kaapo Kakko could be forced out, or some may opt out due to COVID-19 (Getty Images)

The first NHL player has opted out almost immediately after the NHL and NHLPA ratified the new CBA and RTP plan. Travis Hamonic of the Calgary Flames, citing concern for his daughter who nearly died battling a respiratory virus just last year, will not play.

Travis Hamonic opt out statement

Hamonic released a statement through his agent explaining the very difficult decision. “Due to what my daughter already has gone through and the concerns if she were to catch COVID-19, I’ve decided to opt out,” he explained.

The Flames defenseman said he wants to be out there with his teammates and wished them well. In the end, Hamonic’s decision is that of a father’s that I understand deeply.

“Being my little kids’ dad everyday is the most important job I have.” Well said, Travis.

No Rangers expected to opt out

Artemi Panarin (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

In a recent report by TSN’s Frank Seravalli, he indicated multiple players are considering opting out. This prompted me to reach out to a team source and ask if they expected any New York Rangers players to do so. Unless something changes from last night, no Blueshirt currently in NY is expected to opt out.

NHL players will have until Monday to let their respective teams know if they will not return to play this season.

The big question is how many players league-wide will opt out? The general consensus from the few people I’ve spoken to is very few. This was reinforced by TSN’s Pierre Lebrun who reached out to a several teams that told him the same.

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Concern for Kaapo Kakko

At this point it is very well documented that Kaapo Kakko is a diabetic. He is in NY and been cleared to participate in Phase 2 workouts. However, the decision to play could be taken out of Kakko’s hands should the medical team determine after his Pre-participation Medical Exam he is too high a risk.

Per the new RPT plan, Kakko can seek a second opinion if he likes to contest the Rangers medical team’s decision. For what it is worth, both John Davidson and Kaapo Kakko believe he will be cleared.

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