NY Rangers: Kaapo Kakko heading back in Mid-September, and Chris Kreider gets endorsement for captain

kaapo kakko
Jan 28, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) greets right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) after defeatin the Buffalo Sabres in an overtime period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Kaapo Kakko is training in Finland and feeling really good about where he’s at conditioning wise.”We’ve been in the gym a lot,” he said to Ilta Sanomat. “I’ve been on the ice a couple of times, but I have immediately felt that I am in better shape than in recent years. I expect more from myself heading into next season.”

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Kaapo Kakko coming back in Mid September

The New York Rangers #2 overall pick from the 2019 Draft is planning on working out up until he leaves for training camp. “I’m leaving for New York in mid-September,” Kakko revealed. “I’m working hard to be in good shape…success doesn’t come by itself.”

The 6-3 winger is now 20 years of age and at a crucial point in his development. He finished the 2020-21 campaign with 17 points on the strength of 8 goals in 48 games and is looking forward to playing for his new coach.

Gerard Gallant has been pretty adamant about giving young players an opportunity. He’s also openly stated that he doesn’t believe top prospects should be utilized on the fourth line. “I don’t think young players can sit on the fourth line and get a lot out of that,” Gallant explained his philosophy on development. “I think young players with a lot of talent if they are first, second, or third line hockey players you’ve got to play them.”

kaapo kakko
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

“We have a good bunch of players (to make the postseason)” Kakko said about the team’s moves. “Personally, I think that points are starting to come and I’m going to take a bigger role on the top lines next season.”

Former Ranger Brian Boyle believes Chris Kreider should be captain

The longest tenured member of the New York Rangers, Chris Kreider believes the team’s offseason moves were a step in the right direction. “I think there’s a good energy around the group, like there always is going into the year,” Kreider said via NHL.com. “The group chats have been buzzing and the guys are talking and excited, so it’ll be good… But guys are excited.”

Chris Drury said that he would like to name a captain this season. “We can keep moving this thing forward, a big piece of that for me would be getting a captain. For me it’s a priority,” he said at Gallant’s intro presser. “At the end of the day, it has to be the right person. I’m not interested in giving it to someone to just say we have a captain. I think we have a lot of leaders in our room and leaders that have taken big steps, including the second half of last season.”

One former Ranger that played with Kreider believes it should be him.

“He does everything right,” Brian Boyle said to NHL.com. “He’s been through everything on that team and now he’s the old guard, even though he’s not old. He’s still got wheels, he’s a high-character person, a smart individual and knows what it takes to win. I’ve been friends with him for a long time, so I’d love to see that.”

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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