New York Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko was added to the NHL’s Covid protocol list on Monday evening according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. Kakko will miss Monday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kaapo Kakko (NYR) has also been added to the NHL’s COVID Protocol list today.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 1, 2021
Kaapo Kakko Placed on COVID Protocol List
Kakko is currently the only Ranger on the protocol list. The list identifies players who can’t participate in team activities due to the NHL’s COVID protocols. This can be for many reasons. A player could have tested positive which remains unconfirmed until confirmatory testing is finalized. The player could have symptoms, been near someone who tested positive, isolated based on a confirmed positive test result, or quarantining for travel reasons. It is unknown why Kakko was placed on this list.
Kakko has scored two goals in eight games so far for the Rangers in his second season. The 19-year-old right-winger scored 10 goals and 23 points in his first season in the NHL. He was drafted second overall by New York in 2019.
What this Means for the Future
The best-case scenario for the Rangers is for Kakko to not have the virus and make a quick return to the team. However, it realistic that he might have it. Including tonight’s game. The Rangers and Penguins will have played each other three times in nine days, and New York has fit in a two-game series against the Buffalo Sabres in that time span. Those teams should be vigilant for players with symptoms.
As for the game, the Rangers will be without one of their talented young forwards for an unknown amount of time. The Rangers have only won two games this season and are 20th in the league in goals for. Losing Kakko is not ideal, even if he only has two goals so far. This will put a small amount of added pressure on their offensive players such as Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome, Chris Kreider and others to find ways to score without Kakko.