Rangers’ Kaapo Kakko set to finally return to the lineup vs. Capitals

New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) in action against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first period at Wells Fargo Center
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are getting a key piece of their lineup back from injury on Sunday as forward Kaapo Kakko is expected to finally make his long-awaited return from injury. Head coach Peter Laviolette announced that Kakko will play in the team’s Sunday afternoon matchup against the Washington Capitals.

Rangers getting Kaapo Kakko back for Sunday’s matchup with the Capitals

Kakko will make his return to the ice on Sunday following a nearly two-month absence from the team with a lower-body injury. The 22-year-old right-winger went down hard during the team’s November 27th matchup with the Buffalo Sabres. Kakko missed 21 games with the injury. The Rangers went 11-9-1 during that span.

Laviolette told reporters that the team certainly missed Kakko’s presence on the ice and emphasized the importance of what he brings to the lineup:

“You miss everything a little bit when it comes to Kakko. He protects the puck really well in the offensive zone. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s young. He’s fast. He’s capable defensively, certainly capable offensively. You lose a player like that for a bit, you feel it. So it’s good to get him back out on the ice.”

Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette via Mollie Walker of The New York Post

Kakko had appeared in 20 games this season prior to his injury. He had totaled three points (two goals and one assist) while averaging 13:33 minutes on ice per game. Kakko will likely be eased back into the lineup in the bottom six, but the Rangers are hopeful that he can soon become the answer to their problems on the first line.