Rangers Roundup: Kaapo Kakko expected back next week, Bobby Trivigno Wolf Pack debut, and more

The New York Rangers will be getting Kaapo Kakko back some time next week after a long absence.

Also, Kevin Rooney should be available around the same time which does raise questions as to some potential lineup decisions.

“They’re coming close,” Gallant said on Friday. “They’re not ready this week obviously. The next two games for sure not, but after that there’s possibilities.”

The Rangers took on the Islanders yesterday and the Flyers are scheduled for this Sunday. That means Kakko and Rooney could potentially return on Tuesday in New Jersey against the Devils.

Kaapo Kakko close to a return to Rangers lineup

Kakko, 21, last played on January 21 against the Carolina Hurricanes. He was placed on IR the next day with an upper-body injury that is believed to be a wrist issue. Kakko has missed 32 games to date with the Flyers set to be 33.

So with the Rangers suddenly loaded with quality options, where does Kakko end up playing when he returns?

He could go back to the first line but I would be hard-pressed to break up what Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and Frank Vatrano have going right now. Should Gallant opt to go that way, Vatrano with Alexis Lafrenière and Filip Chytil is an intriguing option.

However, if Kakko needs to be eased back in or struggles on the first line the other option is to place him on the third and reunite the kids line. Breaking up a formidable second line with Panarin, Strome, and Copp makes little sense at this time.

Of course, if Strome’s injury is a lingering one Kakko should immediately replace Dryden Hunt on the second line.

Strome was injured last Sunday in the first period of a 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres. He was ruled day-to-day with the possibility of playing in Detroit. At this time, he’s missed three games.

Bobby Trivigno expected to debut with the Wolf Pack tonight

bobby trivigno
Apr 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; UMass Minutemen forward Bobby Trivigno (8) attempts a wrap around shot while Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs defenseman Louie Roehl (6) defends during overtime in the semifinals of the 2021 Frozen Four NCAA hockey tournament at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the New York Rangers announced the signing of NCAA free agent forward Bobby Trivigno to a two-year ELC. He was also signed to an ATO (Amateur Tryout) and is expected to make his Wolf Pack debut tonight.

Per the Wolf Pack’s release:

The Hartford Wolf Pack announced on Saturday morning that the club has come to terms on an amateur tryout agreement (ATO) with college forward Bobby Trivigno and a professional tryout agreement (PTO) with college forward Easton Brodzinski. Both players will join the club immediately. 

Trivigno, an undrafted free agent who agreed to terms with the New York Rangers on an entry-level contract on Friday afternoon, joins the Wolf Pack following a standout four-year career at the University of Massachusetts. Trivigno scored a career-high 20 goals, 29 assists, and 49 points during the 2021-22 season, a campaign in which he also served as the captain of the Minutemen.

A 2021 NCAA National Champion, the native of Setauket, New York, appeared in 139 career NCAA games during his time at UMass, scoring 131 career points (53 g, 78 a).

Easton is the brother of Pack captain and current Rangers forward Jonny Brodzinski.

Brodzinski, an undrafted free agent, joins the Wolf Pack after five seasons at St. Cloud State University. He scored 27 points (12 g, 15 a) in 36 games with the Huskies in 2021-22, finishing fifth on the team in scoring. The younger brother of Wolf Pack captain Jonny Brodzinski, Easton Brodzinski appeared in 176 career games with the Huskies, scoring 125 career points (67 g, 58 a).

The Wolf Pack will play the Syracuse Crunch this Saturday night at 7:00 PM ET.

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