Three potential trade destinations for New York Ranger forward Kaapo Kakko among rumors

Jan 16, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Erik Gustafsson (56) celebrates
Jan 16, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Erik Gustafsson (56) celebrates / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Hurricanes

This would sting the most, because the divisional rivals of the New York Rangers are an incredibly savvy organization. They love to go bargain bin shopping and reclamation projects seem to be their specialty. They could use scoring help too, and it pains me to think of the success Kaapo Kakko could have with the Carolina Hurricanes if the former Hartford Whalers choose to come in for the services of the Finn.

With several Finns already down in Carolina, including their all-star Sebastian Aho and a fellow reclamation project in Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the feeling of familiarity with some of the players Kakko played with at the youth level might make him feel more relaxed. Getting away from the pressure cooker of New York media also may help him, and Carolina's coverage is not as scrutinous as the Blueshirts'.

This is a team that has a cap crunch coming up as the majority of the core of their roster is going to see its contract expire in the summer. While their key offensive star has an extension, it's going to get tight in Raleigh, so a budget option for the right wing is something that this organization could be looking into with their deadline cap space if they are desperate for an insurance policy for the summer.

Carolina's ridiculously deep prospect pool would also give them the ability to make a deal like this without really damaging their future because of the way they are run. Plus, it may allow the Rangers to land a young player for the roster like Jack Drury, Chris' nephew, who could fill the hole at 3C while netting something like the extra second round pick the Hurricanes have to get another asset at this deadline, while also opening up another $1 million in cap space for deadline acquisitions.