Is Kaapo Kakko ready for an exceptional year under new Rangers coach Gerard Gallant? A Deep Dive – The Athletic

Great expectations come with the territory being picked second overall in the NHL Draft, and Kaapo Kakko has had a rough start to his career with the New York Rangers in that regard. He has had one of the worst statistical seasons in the league as a rookie in 2019-2020 and has yet to make an impact on the scoresheet in two seasons, with 19 goals and 40 points in 119 games.

But the results are different from growth when it comes to the progression and trajectory of a young player. And expectations and results, in Kakko’s case, can be misleading.

The growth of the 20-year-old winger over the past year should inspire confidence and move forward. With a new coaching staff and subtraction from the right side of the forwards group, Kakko will have some ice time and the opportunity to thrive in his third season in the NHL.

Will he take this opportunity and produce a year in small groups? Let’s take a look at the video and analytics from his first two seasons to get a feel for how he’s prepared for year three.

The work of Michael Schuckers and Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic shows that second picks in the draft are often quite valuable in their first seven seasons: they’re worth 15.7 wins, in terms of added value to playing score.

But within this set of players there are variations and outliers. The visualization below, by Prashanth Iyer, helps to show the gap (in

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