Rangers Roundup: Kaapo Kakko resumes skating, and Slovakia names Adam Sykora captain
On Friday, the New York Rangers updated that forward Kaapo Kakko has been skating on his own for the last “3 to 4 days” per head coach Peter Laviolette.
The second overall pick from 2019 fell awkwardly into the boards during a loss to the Buffalo Sabres in late November. New York soon put Kakko on LTIR, which meant he had to miss at least 10 games and 24 days. Tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers represented the first contest he was eligible to come back for, but obviously he’s not ready.
Also still out on LTIR is Filip Chytil, who has missed significant time after an open-ice hit against the Carolina Hurricanes on November 2.
“They’re skating in their own,” Laviolette revealed. “It’s been a slow process, especially with Fil, but it’s getting better.”
Rangers Roundup: Kaapo Kakko back on ice
Prior to the lower-body injury, Kakko was struggling mightily with just 2 goals and 3 points in 20 games. His offensive play was so ineffective that he was demoted off a formidable line with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad in favor of 37 year-old veteran Blake Wheeler to the team’s third line.
Kakko is also no stranger to being hurt as he missed 39 games during the 2021-22 campaign due to a wrist injury. On a recent episode of the Forever Blueshirts Show, Senior Writer for NHL.com and Rangers reporter Dan Rosen weighed in on Kakko’s injury.
“It’s a debilitating injury for him personally, professionally, and for the team,” he said. “It’s a tough spot because he’s not been off to a good start. He hasn’t performed the way he wants to in a contract year and now we don’t know how long he’s going to be out.”
While Kakko is expected to be back at some point this season, the fact that this is also a contract year for the former second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft is devastating. Unless he’s offensively explosive upon his return, Kakko may be facing difficult negotiations this summer and have to settle for another bridge deal.
Adam Sykora named captain for Slovakia at WJC
Team Slovakia has named Rangers prospect Adam Sykora the captain of their hockey team at the World Juniors.
Sykora, 19, has registered 3 goals, 8 assists, for 11 points in 25 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack this season to date. In his first full pro season, Sykora is becoming one of the Pack’s top players as a rookie. The Rangers selected him with their first pick of the 2022 draft in the second-round.
The 2024 Tournament will be hosted by Sweden in Gothenburg, and will start on December 26th and conclude on January 5th.