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New York’s Third Line Proving To Be Reliable Assets Moving Forward

Kaapo Kakko trade

Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars saw a resurgence in New York’s third line and their subsequent importance. Having won eight consecutive games, the Rangers are on a path toward ultimate success. The first step on their road back to the playoffs comes in almost two weeks in the form of the Trade Deadline. It is a point in the season that can either make or break a potential playoff team. Some teams will search for goaltending, while others will look for help on the back end. For the Rangers, their needs are on the offensive side of the puck.

Injuries to forwards Filip Chytil and Blake Wheeler have left potential holes in the offensive core. The Chytil injury allowed Hartford Wolf Pack captain Jonny Brodzinski to find a home on Peter Laviolette‘s roster. Without going so much in-depth yet, he is slowly turning into a “diamond in the rough” and might not be leaving anytime soon. The injury to Blake Wheeler, however, has left a revolving door at the first-line right-wing position. Multiple Rangers wingers have found themselves on the top line, but none have stayed there permanently. Many have said that the only line that should not split up due to trades and acquisitions is the Panarin-Trocheck-Lafrenière line. However, you might want to add New York’s third line to the list.

New York’s Third Line Revolves Around Kaapo Kakko

Say whatever you want about Kaapo Kakko, but his play continues to impress many since his return to the lineup. With the Trade Deadline looming, Kakko’s name continues to circulate as rumours are being made every single day. There is a reason why his name is brought up in numerous trade proposals. He is one of the only roster players that can get moved. The current form of New York’s third line might have you thinking otherwise.

Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider decided to show up drastically in the Stadium Series game on Sunday against the New York Islanders. The second line continues to produce magic, especially from “The Breadman.” The third line has to be added to the list of untouchables. It starts with Kakko, who believe it or not can still turn into that projected sniper at any given moment. The line is known to shut down opponents, yet Kakko’s goal last night shows you that this line can create goal-scoring chances.

For the doubters, go on YouTube and look up Kakko’s highlights from the 2019 World Juniors. Still not impressed, add his highlight reel from TPS Turku to your watchlist. Given the chance, Kakko’s shot can find its way past netminders. Like Igor Shesterkin, Kakko needs to believe in himself. Early in the season, he began to show some self-doubt and a lack of confidence. Playing with his current linemates is making him more comfortable and last night is only the beginning.

Jonny Hockey Gets Paid And Will Is Still Keeping It Cuyl(le)

At the start of writing this article, we had breaking news this morning revolving around New York’s third line centre. The Rangers agreed to a one-way, two-year extension with current third-line centre Jonny Brodzinski. The AAV of the extension is $787,500.

Seeing this is music to the ears of many Rangers fans. Hockey is a beautiful sport filled with wholesome moments. It is great seeing a player like Brodzinski earn his first one-way contract. His hard-nosed, two-way play makes this a well-deserved extension. Brodzinski has 15 points (4G, 11A) in 37 games played this season. His defensive play has made him stand out, complimenting Kakko’s offensive prowess. Finally, he gets to stay on Laviolette’s roster for another two years.

The third-line member is continuing his impressive rookie season and that, of course, is Will Cuylle. Leading all rookies with 179 hits, Cuylle brings the physical force to a surging forward combination. Do not underestimate his 10 goals and 18 points in 56 games played. He continues to play with a purpose when his number gets called. With it being the first year of his rookie contract, the stock is only rising for the former second-round pick in 2020.

New York will look to make it nine wins in a row on Thursday when they travel to Newark to take on the New Jersey Devils. Although Shesterkin is surging right now, do not be surprised if Jonathan Quick is named the starter with the impending back-to-back road trip on Saturday and Sunday.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST from the Prudential Center on Thursday evening.

Main Photo: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports


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