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Thread: Kaapo Kakko’s Stubbornness is Blocking Potential Rangers Greatness

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    Kaapo Kakko’s Stubbornness is Blocking Potential Rangers Greatness

    So much of the conversation about the 2019 second-overall pick in the draft focused on his spot in the lineup, his linemates, his minutes and whether he should have been shoehorned into a top-six role, ready or not. There was also much talk about the difficulties confronting a teenager from Finland attempting to make the transition not only to the NHL, but to a foreign country with a foreign language.

    No doubt these external factors proved meaningful through Kakko’s rookie season, but No. 24’s obstinance became a self-made obstacle that he was unable to overcome on a consistent basis. Kakko dominated in Finland by holding onto the puck as long as possible. He would take the puck to the net, he would circle the net, he would beat a couple of men on one side, dangle a bit, then beat the same two guys again en route to a highlight-reel goal.

    He was very much an individualistic — as opposed to, selfish — player, able to go one-on-one with results that were overwhelmingly positive. That was a function of the league and of the big ice, though Kakko did dominate on the small ice of the 2018-19 World Juniors in Buffalo, albeit against teenagers. The NHL is not a league of teenagers.

    The more Kakko tried to play it his way, the more his tendency to double down. He would hold onto the puck too long in slowing it down. He’d make his patented move to the net, beat one man, maybe even a second, but then would lose the puck to a third opponent, or maybe the initial defender who had circled back. Kakko believed he could make the league bend to him. One day, maybe. Last year, not.
    Kakko did pick it up the two or so weeks leading into the March 12 coronavirus-induced shutdown. He had more jump in his step and played more of a give-and-go, dart-to-open-spaces game. He was more effective. And David Quinn gave some thought to moving Kakko into a top-six role in the absence of the injured Chris Kreider.

    But there was no improvement at the other end of the ice, where Kakko’s struggles were measurably worse. Not sure if a lack of awareness or of attention was the primary issue, but the winger was on for 40 goals-against at five-on-five, second most to Pavel Buchnevich’s 44 among New York forwards. Problem is that Buchnevich played 170 more minutes than Kakko. Beyond that, Buchnevich was on for 54 Rangers goals, a plus-10 while Kakko was on for 16 goals for and was a minus-24.

    You may not think plus-minus matters. Let me tell you, minus-24 playing for a team that was plus-seven at full strength, it matters. Kakko’s GF percentage of 28.57 was the worst in the NHL among the 215 forwards with at least 750 minutes at five-on-five. The three next worst were all Red Wings.
    https://nypost.com/2020/03/30/kaapo-...ers-greatness/
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    So sounds like they were right to keep him in the NHL and force him to learn how to adapt instead of sending him down where he could hold on to the puck and skate around people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Long live the King View Post
    So sounds like they were right to keep him in the NHL and force him to learn how to adapt instead of sending him down where he could hold on to the puck and skate around people.
    How could that be? Rangers brass is never right.
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    On the ice for only 16 ES goals. Wow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Long live the King View Post
    So sounds like they were right to keep him in the NHL and force him to learn how to adapt instead of sending him down where he could hold on to the puck and skate around people.
    That's certainly one way to look at it...

    Frightening thought that he never actually learned...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    On the ice for only 16 ES goals. Wow.
    His EV GF% is better than 50 guys in the league, including Hughes.
    Lias Andersson for #AJT2019

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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    His EV GF% is better than 50 guys in the league, including Hughes.
    Jack?
    That’s comical to compare the two. And what exactly is GF%


    Sent from my iPhone using Blueshirts Brotherhood mobile app powered by Tapatalk

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    Because one is foreign? Take a new angle for once.

    And your post doesn't make sense.
    Lias Andersson for #AJT2019

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    He definitely needs a mentor. A guy who played a similar way and adapted to the league. Would have been awesome to have gotten Kapanen to serve as the winger they desperately need, as well as a young fellow countryman to show him the ropes as a teammate.

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    Jeez, maybe we should have hoped for a lockout so these guys could play a season in Hartford, together, without the AHL stigma.

    But I’m sure most would go overseas. Nevermind.
    Lias Andersson for #AJT2019

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    He definitely needs a mentor. A guy who played a similar way and adapted to the league. Would have been awesome to have gotten Kapanen to serve as the winger they desperately need, as well as a young fellow countryman to show him the ropes as a teammate.
    There aren’t a lot of options out there. Is Kapanen old enough to mentor? If you get much older, you’re forcing a relationship between an 18 year old and a 30 year old. Would be nice to have someone to talk to, though. In season 2, don’t need someone to show him the ropes, just a homely friend.

    Even guys like Ovechkin and Kane needed seasons of living with parents for them to grow up. Everyone’s different, but he could use some help, off ice.
    Lias Andersson for #AJT2019

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    I'm not even worried about this kid, his stats, and the rest of the bullshit they spew about him. He's going to be a very good player in the NHL. He has the talent, period! He'll learn and grow, and it's gonna take some patience, but make no mistake, he's going to be a force one day.

    He'll learn
    He'll get better
    ....and one day he's going to have his name on that big Silver thing!

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    Im with Ozzy.

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    I'm not worried, but I can also understand some of the frustration. The earlier the pick, the shorter our patience is in seeing a kid be a competitive NHL player.
    I dont agree with what Brooks is saying, though.
    Lias Andersson for #AJT2019

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    Pretty sure old Brooksie pulled this one right out of his ass tbh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravesy View Post
    Pretty sure old Brooksie pulled this one right out of his ass tbh.
    Lol yes he did. He was probably told to get a story out then had a 3 way phone call with a couple guys here about how much Kakko sucks. And then he had an article.

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    The Golden Rule: I stop at "Brooks"...what follows is all drippy horse shit!

    Seriously....Some of the guys in here have more insight than he does.

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    Just wondering if anyone thinks the Rangers would have benefited if the Devils took Kakko, and the Rangers got Hughes. Would Hughes have been given the 2C spot?

    Obviously, we wouldn't have seen the chemistry with Strome and Panarin. We possibly don't get to see Chytil play as much. Andersson probably DC doesn't make the team out of preseason.

    But does Hughes play up to that hype if paired with Panarin?

    We are all kinda disappointed with what we saw from Kakko. I definitely expected much more. But, I feel they got the position player they needed. Kakko fits the teams needs IF he puts it together. They REALLY need him to be a legit threat soon.

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    I would’ve been happy with either one of them

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    There aren’t a lot of options out there. Is Kapanen old enough to mentor? If you get much older, you’re forcing a relationship between an 18 year old and a 30 year old. Would be nice to have someone to talk to, though. In season 2, don’t need someone to show him the ropes, just a homely friend.

    Even guys like Ovechkin and Kane needed seasons of living with parents for them to grow up. Everyone’s different, but he could use some help, off ice.
    I'd say yes to Kapanen being old enough to mentor. Hes 23, been in the league for 4 years, and has been a good soldier on a team that is loaded with talent at forward. You'd think he'd want more ice time or demand a trade, but he seems to just go out there with small minutes, and produces.

    I'm really just shocked nobody has poached him from a Toronto team that is obviously in need of defensive help. I really hope Gorton at least asked for him in any Georgiev talks. That opportunity (cash in on a team desperate for a goalie) is likely gone.

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