Kaapo Kakko and Kevin Rooney, who are both injured, will be sidelined for at least the remainder of March, Rangers chairman and general manager Chris Drury said on his date conference call on Monday. trading limit.
The hope is that both forwards will be healthy and ready to return to the roster in early April.
Kakko, who was spotted with a wrist splint/cast, hasn’t played since the Rangers’ 6-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 21. The Finnish winger has missed the last 22 games. Prior to his injury, Kakko had made a strong impression on the right side of a line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome.
In light of the moves Drury has made to fortify Rangers’ back six, it’s likely that Kakko will return to this spot once he’s ready. Before that, recent acquisition Frank Vatrano positioned himself on the second row and gave the Bread-and-Butter duo a bit more speed.
Rooney, who has primarily centered the fourth line this season, has missed the last nine games with an undisclosed upper-body injury.
Regarding Vitali Kravtsov, who struggled with his demotion to the AHL Hartford early in the season and was loaned to the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinski, Drury said the organization is in touch with the Russian forward.
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“It will be time to comment on what’s next,” Drury said. “He’s in the middle of a playoff series. We want him to do well, to play well. I wouldn’t comment on anything other than wishing him luck, and we watch.
Drury also declined to comment on the pending contract situation of unrestricted free agent Ryan Strome.
“I’m not going to talk about anything with contracts with media players,” he said. “I think I would echo the same and repeat the same thing I said about Mika [Zibanejad] about Ryan. He’s a great player, he was a great Ranger. It was a good exchange for the organization and he is even a better person. I’ll leave it at that and we’re certainly delighted to have him on our team down the stretch here.
Asked to assess Nils Lundkvist’s 25-game cameo earlier in the season, before the defenseman was sent to the AHL Hartford and passed over on the depth chart by Braden Schneider and Zac Jones, Drury said he still sees the Swedes fit into the organization.
“He was a first-round pick; I think he’s a great prospect,” Drury said. “The adjustment, I think, can sometimes be more difficult for someone coming from a different size rink in a different league. I think he had some really good times when he played with us. At the time, we wanted to give Schneider a look, and Nils understood that. And he came down and played well.
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