Which Rangers Skaters Will Have Bigger Roles Next Season?

The New York Rangers may see surprise assets from last season take on more responsibility in 2024-2025.
Dallas Stars v New York Rangers
Dallas Stars v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Kaapo Kakko (UFA)

Kaapo Kakko, Dmitry Kulikov
New York Rangers v Florida Panthers - Game Three / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

If Kakko remains a New York Ranger through the summer, he would likely play the same role this season on the third line knowing the team has a shot at a championship.

The Rangers have to qualify and offer Kakko a contract. He either will stay on a low-cost deal knowing he has a limited role on a championship team, or he will search the open market for a deal where he can play top-six minutes with no pressure.

"Talking to [Peter Laviolette] over the summer, we talked about getting the chance to play with [Zibanejad] and [Kreider], which I felt good about, but all those games we played together it never worked out...I can't say I didn't get the chance with those guys," Kakko told the media on Tuesday.

It sounds like the organization thought he would eventually and convincingly take the 1RW role. There is evidence that supports the Rangers giving Kakko another oppurtunity next season with contract negotations looming, from the General Manager Chris Drury himself.

"We were talking about Laf at this time last year and refuting rumors that I was trying to trade him… Kaapo Kakko is still a young player… We’re going to continue to try and find everything we can do to help him reach his potential," Drury told the media via Zoom on Friday.

That implies that the organization is looking to maximize Kakkos potential. He is 23-years-old after all.

In all of the conversations I had with Kakko, it always surrounded his confidence or position in the lineup. He may want to move on after five years of not reaching his full potential in New York. He may also see this as an opportunity to win a championship.