It is true in the macro sense that what is good for Kaapo Kakko is good for the Rangers. At this moment, though, what is good for the Rangers is promoting Kakko from the second power-play unit to the first, if not also getting the second-overall draft selection onto the first line at five-on-five.
This is not a reaction to how the Devils are deploying first-overall Jack Hughes, who does play on New Jersey’s first man-advantage unit. Neither is this a knee-jerk response to the Blueshirts going 0-for-6 in 10:38 of power-play time in Thursday’s 5-2 defeat to New Jersey at the Rock. Not at all.
Rather, this is the view following a fourth straight match in which Pavel Buchnevich did very little in order to secure that spot up-front alongside Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad (with Artemi Panarin lining up at the point across from Jacob Trouba) on the man-advantage unit and to hold onto his first-line assignment on the right at even strength with Zibanejad and Panarin.
David Quinn awarded Buchnevich that coveted position on the first day of training camp, the coach then citing No. 89’s strong 2018-19 finish. But Quinn surely didn’t mean this would be a lifetime appointment. Filip Chytil was going to be the team’s second-line center, remember, until he wasn’t.
Again, this is not a reaction to the power-play unit’s inability to cash in against a desperate Devils team that won its first game after six defeats (1-4-2) opened the season. Happens to the best of them, which the Rangers actually do have a chance to be with their power-play components.