Kaapo Kakko’s Rangers future hinges more on Ryan Strome than Jack Hughes

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So, no, The Post can report in the aftermath of 2019—the eight-year, $64 million contract extension No. 86 of Jack Hughes in total signed with the Devils on Tuesday that Rangers and 2019 hasn’t negotiated yet- Overall Capo Kako’s representative regarding Finn’s second contract.

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As explained by a person with knowledge of the process, both sides believe it is too early to engage in negotiations at this point. Hughes has had a major role in the lineup since arriving in New Jersey. Kako is still feeling his way through his first season as a top six player.

The Rangers haven’t put Kakko on a public platform and at the center of a marketing venture the way the Devils have done with Hughes, and, mind you, at the same time we constantly lecture in the media about not keeping too much. Gives focus and pressure on top draft options.

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Hudson has raised questions on whether the Hughes deal could affect Kako’s next contract. Despite his draft selection and proximity to geographic locations, I don’t believe there will be a direct cause and effect at play here, although Kako’s primary figures are not as far from Hughes as you might think.

Indeed, at 20-35-55 in 120 games, Hughes equals .17 goals per game, .29 assists and .46 points per game, while Kako’s 22-24-46 checks in 130 competitions are .17 goals per game, . 18 assists per and .35 points per. On five-on-five, Hughes is 13-18-31 while Kako is 16-12-28.

Jack Hughes Contract Devils
Jack Hughes plays at the Devils’ loss at the hands of the Sharks on Tuesday after signing a $64 million contract extension.
AP
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Be that as it may, the ability of the Finn to sign a second contract before restricted free agency and the concerned spectator of the offer sheet coming out on July 13, may be more influenced by what the Rangers do with Ryan Strom.

It has been learned for the Post that chairman-general manager Chris Drury and representatives of the pending unrestricted free agent center have begun to engage in talks aimed at maintaining the Strom-Artemi Panarin connection beyond this season.

again. And again and again and again because it will carry over to every personnel decision made by Drury over the next five months: the squeezing of Rangers’ cap early next year is the result. Based on an estimated $82.5 million cap, the club would have a net worth of approximately $12.5 million, with Kako, a top-six centre, a pair of top-nine wingers, a backup goaltender and another defenseman and depth adjusted. There will be room to do so. A year later, Alexis Lafrenier’s second contract would be due.

Rangers, who went 7-1 in their last eight in Wednesday’s Garden match against the Flyers, appreciate the value of the Strom-Panarin partnership that has developed into a bread-and-butter cheese and David as head coach Gerard allows Gallant to split Quinn, Panarin and Mika Zibnejad in front of him, thus offering a pick-your-own-poison matchup option for the opposition.

Kapo Kako Rangers
Rangers have not yet discussed a new contract with Kapo Kako.
Charles Weinzelberg/New York Post

So the Blueshirts would like to eliminate Strom, who turns 29 in July and is completing a two-year deal that earns him AAV of $4.5 million. In the market, perhaps Number 16 could attract a long-term deal in the neighborhood of $5.5 million to $6 million per. He is 21st in points per game in NHL centers and ninth in assists since the start of 2019-20.

But it’s probably going to be too expensive for blueshirts. This is me here, no source, but somewhere between $5 million and $5.25 million per sound sounds high. This may represent some degree of leeway, but the four or five years of partnership with Panarin could have significant appeal for Strom. It does for Rangers.

So, well, let’s put it in the books for (sorry, Howie) $5 million per for Strom. This leaves a net $7.5 million for Kako and the rest of the group. I believe you can say goodbye to Patrick Nemeth on the third pair after the season for $2.5 million, so at least the Rangers will have a pool of about $10 million available.

Hughes is the first member of the class of ’19 to sign a second contract. He, Kako, and Chicago’s third-overall Kirby Dachs are the only ones to have played in at least 100 NHL games. So when Rangers and Kako get down to it, there are not going to be many comparisons.

Rangers Ryan Strom contract
Rangers have started contract talks with Ryan Strom.
NHLI via Getty Images

But the five members of the erstwhile class are on their second deal. First overall, Rasmus Dahlin is earning $6 million per AAV; Second overall is Andrei Svechnikov at $7.75 million per; Third-overall Jesperi Kotakanemi is on his one-year offer-sheet deal at $6,100,035; Brady Takachuk is fourth overall at $8,330,674 per; and seventh overall is Quinn Hughes at $7.85 million per.

Fiction.

What a huge bribe is yet to be taken. But it won’t be defined as much by Hughes’ second deal as by Strom’s future on Broadway.

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