The excitement surrounding New York Rangers prospects Vitali Kravtsov and Kaapo Kakko is legit, but they’ll have to earn a spot this year.
While addressing the media, head coach David Quinn revealed his plan for how he’ll use the two prized rookies.
Quinn said of Kakko and Kravtsov that “they’re going to have to earn it” in terms of top-six roles. He then noted they have a “leg up” on most rookies cause of their pro hockey experience and said he could feel differently about how much they’re ready to handle in 10 days. #NYR
— Vince Z. Mercogliano (@vzmercogliano) September 13, 2019
A large swath of the fanbase was hoping to see Kakko playing alongside some of the Blueshirts’ top contributors to start the year. But the head coach is showing a great deal of patience to start the year.
Before the anger of having two top prospects possibly playing bottom-line minutes sinks in, think about everything Quinn has said since the Blueshirts hired him. This continues to go right along with the message he set from day one: Nothing is given. It must be earned.
The one variable that can change this decision is how the two of them go out there and perform on the ice. If they dominate during training camp and the preseason, Quinn will have no choice but to give them minutes. Should they go out and struggle a bit, they’ll either see bottom-six minutes or go down to Hartford to work on their game (just like every other rookie in camp).
Quinn clearly is not letting the hype of these two players affect their development. Considering how the team’s handled the development of Lias Andersson, this is a breath of fresh air. Quinn knows the importance these two players will have to this franchise and is taking the right approach.
One thing is certain though. This is going to be a fun preseason watching the two of them battle it out.