September 9, 2020

Will Kaapo Kakko be the next Rangers young player loaned

Kaapo Kakko(Getty Images)

The New York Rangers won’t be playing hockey again for several months. That is a long time to wait, especially when you want to develop young talent. John Davidson and Jeff Gorton need to take this into account when it comes to certain players.

Since the 2021-22 NHL season won’t be starting for another 3 months, they have already made the decision to loan both Vitali Kravtsov and Libor Hajek to clubs overseas. Teams all over the league are doing it as well, so the idea that Kaapo Kakko could be next is making more sense.

Rangers should loan Kaapo Kakko to TPS in Finland

At 19 years-old, Kakko is still developing, regardless of the fact that he played the whole season with the Rangers last year. It is imperative he continues to hone his skills and grow as the offensive juggernaut many project.

That is why, just like they did with Vitali Kravtsov, the Rangers should loan Kakko back to his old Liiga club, TPS. If they chose not to, that means Kakko will have only played 3 games in the span of eight months. That’s eight months if the NHL preseason begins in mid-November like the league hopes.

Listen, other teams are doing it with their top prospects as well. Recently, the Philadelphia Flyers loaned German Rubtsov to Sochi, and the Nashville Predators loaned Eeli Tolvanen to Jokerit, both in the KHL.

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Kakko should play in Liiga now (Getty Images)

Liiga and TPS are getting ready to start the season

Liiga opened up their season with a 3 on 3 Super Series, which TPS in one of the four teams participating. Preseason action is set to begin soon with TPS’ first regular season game set for October 2, 2020.

When I reached out to a team source about the possibility other prospects like Kravtsov being loaned, the response was as non-committal as you can get. Unfortunately, due to the fluidity of COVID-19 they can’t give a definitive answer. However, yesterday they loaned Hajek to his old Czech club so they continue to assess each player and situation daily.

Of course, these decisions also involved the player. I have reached out to Kakko’s agent to see if it is something he would consider. At this time, I have yet to hear from them. I will update this story once I do.

If the Rangers opt to loan him, Kakko could play anywhere from 10-15 games before coming back in November for training camp. It is a move both sides should strongly consider. There is nothing wrong with a “conditioning” stint no matter how old you are.

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