Rangers: Kakko getting another shot on the first line, Vesey demoted back to the bottom six

New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) skates against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are still on the hunt for a suitable first-line right winger, and until some sort of major trade is made, they’ll have to work with what they’ve got in their already existing roster. Recently, Peter Laviolette has been utilizing Jimmy Vesey to fill that role after Blake Wheeler went down with a season-ending injury. But after Tuesday’s practice, it seems as if another forward may be getting another chance to play on the top offensive unit.

Kakko is returning to the Rangers’ first line, Vesey demoted back down to the bottom six

During Tuesday morning’s practice, Vince Mercogliano reported that Kaapo Kakko earned a chance to play alongside Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad on the Rangers’ first line. The former second-overall pick began the season in that same spot but was quickly demoted down to the bottom six after having a rough start to the year.

Since being placed on the third line, Kakko has excelled on a more defensive-minded unit with Will Cuylle and Jonny Brodzinski. He recently began to produce more points as well, but his total of 11 in 38 games played is still not much to be impressed by. Fans can hope that Kakko will produce more in this new stint on the first line, but if history means anything, then he probably will not serve as a suitable addition right now.

Vesey being demoted back into the bottom six may be a positive, however. He’s had an underrated season thus far, but even he is not good enough to remain on the first line with Kreider and Zibanejad long-term. If the Rangers want to find a perfect replacement for Wheeler, a trade may be the only way to do so.

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