Rangers drawing interest around the league in former No. 2 overall pick on trade block

Rangers drawing interest around the league in former No. 2 overall pick on trade block

Mar 28, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) celebrates after his goal in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko has had his name brought up in trade rumors throughout the summer. The 23-year-old winger has had a disappointing start to his career, failing to live up to the expectations set for him when the Rangers drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick back in 2019.

Now, five seasons later, Kakko could be on his way out of New York. It seems as though trade discussions surrounding Kakko are beginning to heat up as the Blueshirts contemplate whether or not now is the time to move on from the former highly-coveted prospect.

At least three teams are interested in trading for Kaapo Kakko

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

According to Jacob Punturi of Sports Illustrated (h/t @NYRFanatic on X), at least three teams have expressed interest in trading for Kakko this summer. Punturi listed the Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, and Pittsburgh Penguins as teams interested in Kakko’s services in a recent article.

What could the Rangers get in return for Kakko?

Apr 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) skates across the blue line against the Washington Capitals during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

If Rangers general manager Chris Drury gets his way, he would land an immediate-impact player in exchange for Kakko to plug into the lineup and continue to maximize the team’s Cup window. The Blueshirts are in “win-now” mode with many of their core stars beginning to get up there in age. If Drury could get a high-value draft pick or crafty veteran player in return for Kakko, it would be a big-time win.

The Rangers could also opt to offer Kakko to other teams, rather than just field offers on Kakko. The Blueshirts have expressed their interest in trading for a few stars around the league, having been linked to players such as Mackenzie Weegar and Trevor Zegras.

Trevor Zegras, Rangers
Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Blueshirts could look to package Kakko, a draft pick (or a few draft picks), and another player in a trade to acquire Zegras if they so choose to make him their blockbuster acquisition of the summer. The Rangers’ interest in Zegras in particular has been rumored to be rather significant.

Rangers could swap disappointing winger for rising star center in blockbuster trade

Drury is no stranger to wheeling and dealing. He has earned his reputation as one of the most aggressive general managers in all of professional hockey, pulling off blockbuster trade after blockbuster trade over the last several years. Kakko could be the main piece in the next Blueshirts blockbuster.

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