New York Rangers Rumors: Kakko Or Lafreniere Being Traded

The New York Rangers are in a unique spot as their roster was built to compete for the Stanley Cup this season, but instead they were knocked out of the first round. The trade deadline strategy seemed fairly sound by adding a few veteran wingers to bolster the top-6 and to bring playoff experience to the younger team.

After the first round failure, there will be more changes than just firing the head coach. Top draft picks Kappo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere have been given ample time to grow now as they were drafted three and four years ago. Top picks, especially number one and two overalls, typically start their pro careers the next season and usually take a short amount of time before we start seeing signs of highly skilled players. While others like Jack Hughes, Dylan Cozens, Tim Stutzle, and Lucas Raymond have broken out, Kakko and Lafreniere have taken much longer than expected. Because of this Larry Brooks reported that one of the two could be a cap casualty this summer.

Part of the problem is that these two were drafted to a team that got lucky in the draft lottery and they weren't given the chance to start in the top-six and grow with the young players like many other top picks from other teams were. Generally stuck on the third line, they get less playing time and opportunities on the power play to produce. Number one picks are hard to trade, especially when Lafreniere is just 21 years old. This leads me to believe that Kakko, if one of the two must go, will be traded.

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