The New York Rangers are finally back at Madison Square Garden, where they will host the Arizona Coyotes in their home opener for the season. The Rangers will be looking for a bounce-back win following a rough defeat to their divisional rivals, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Through two games played in the year, it’s interesting to note that Kaapo Kakko has yet to record a single point. Although it’s only been two games, playing on the Rangers’ first line should have sparked some sort of offensive production from the former second-overall draft pick.
But ahead of tonight’s matchup, concern is beginning to grow surrounding Kakko.
Kakko has looked solid through two games despite failing to score
Despite sitting at zero points through two games, Kakko hasn’t looked terrible in either of the Rangers’ first two games. His development has come a long way, and he appears to skate much more confidently than he did when first entering the NHL.
Kakko’s strongest trait is his puck-handling abilities. Using his size and strength, Kakko seems to enter the offensive zone with ease and creates difficulty for defenders to steal the puck away from him.
He has a solid shot as well but has unfortunately not been able to score. Kakko has been receiving a lot of scoring chances so far this season but has failed to close on any of these plays.
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Playing on the Rangers’ first line should hopefully rub off on Kakko soon
Kakko has been given the chance to play with two of the Rangers’ best players. Both Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad are elite offensive producers, as they are currently two of the Blueshirts’ leading scorers. Kakko has been a member of the first line through two games so far, and that line is projected to remain intact tonight against Arizona.
Although Kakko hasn’t scored yet, those points should come with time. Kreider and Zibanejad have built up an unbreakable chemistry over the last few seasons, and Kakko will need to get adjusted to their style of play. As long as the other players on the Rangers’ first line continue to score, Kakko should receive many more scoring chances as the season moves forward.
Should the Rangers begin to worry about Kakko?
Kakko is currently the only member of the Rangers’ top six to not record a point. It’s frustrating to see a player with such high potential fail to score, but the Blueshirts shouldn’t panic just yet. It’s only been two games, and there will be plenty of time for Kakko to show his abilities.
There’s plenty of anger from Rangers fans being directed towards Kakko, especially because he was drafted as high as he was. But it’s important to remember that not every player has an immediate breakout and that Kakko is still just 22 years old.
If the season is nearing an end and Kakko has yet to break out, worrying is justified. But for now, it’s key that the Rangers keep their faith in Kakko and hope for a promising season.