Kakko Signed to One-Year Extension

Drury is wasting no time getting things done this offseason. It's now or never for the young Finn, and he knows this. On breakup day Kakko was brutally honest about his performance this year and that he was indeed given the time and space to perform but wasn't able to score and maintain his spot on the wing of Zibanejad on the Rangers' top line.

Just one year removed from his career-best 40-point season, Kakko fell short of expectations this year. Nineteen points in sixty-one games isn't going to cut it for the former second-overall pick. Laviolette tried to get the young winger going in the playoffs but he wasn't able to take advantage of his time and ended up for the second time in his short career a healthy scratch in a Conference Final series.

The team needs him to take the next step. He stumbled a bit this year with the injury he sustained earlier in the season, but he still did not produce when given the opportunity and sixty-one games is more than enough time to put together a productivity streak. This will be harsh to hear, but we need to stop making excuses for Kakko. If he is going to be an offensive force, the time to show that is now. Not every top-of-the-draft player pans out, that's just the way of life and maybe it's Kakko's fate, but the Rangers need to know what he can and can't do to make their future organizational plans. This upcoming season will be his last big shot to prove he is more than an effective depth player, no one knows this better than Kakko himself.

Author's Edit:

Another reason this could have been done so quickly is for Kakko to be a trade chip. Letting personal bias get in the way here, I hope that's not the case. There are a lot of examples of players who struggled to make an impact until further into their careers, and Kakko's potential was off the charts when they drafted him.

Perhaps we will see the Rangers package their first-round pick with Kakko and other assets to secure that bonafide RW1 but there is always a chance this deal could come back to bite the Blueshirts and I think allowing him one last season to prove all the doubters wrong is the right move.