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Rangers re-sign winger Kaapo Kakko to a $2.4 million contract for next season

New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) skates with the puck as Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (7) defends during the first period of Game 6 in the Eastern Conference finals of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Saturday, June 1, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The New York Rangers on Thursday re-signed Kaapo Kakko to a one-year contract worth $2.4 million, a move that provides cost certainty on one of the top trade candidates around the NHL.

Knowing what Kakko counts against the salary cap helps other teams interested in trading for him understand how he might fit. He was a pending restricted free agent, and $2.4 million is the same amount as the qualifying offer New York would have needed to sign him for to retain his rights.

Kakko, 24, could return, but the Finnish winger endured a rough fifth season in the league and appeared to fall out of favour with coach Peter Laviolette, who guided them to the Eastern Conference final before losing to Florida. Kakko had just 19 points in the regular season and two in 15 playoff games, producing so little he was a healthy scratch once in the third round.

The second overall pick in the 2019 draft behind New Jersey's Jack Hughes, Kakko has 61 goals and 65 assists in 344 regular-season and playoff games.

The Rangers have two other RFAs in defencemen Ryan Lindgren and Braden Schneider. Trade deadline acquisitions Jack Roslovic and Alexander Wennberg are among their unrestricted free agents.



Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press

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