Former Second Overall Pick to Join the Canadiens Organization?

Aaron Itovitch
January 20, 2024  (5:09 PM)

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes
Photo credit: Montreal Canadiens

During his mid-season press conference, Montreal Canadiens General Manager Kent Hughes made a statement that quickly caught the attention of CH fans. He mentioned that he would not hesitate to make another transaction similar to the Kirby Dach deal to bolster Martin St-Louis's offense by acquiring a high-potential young player.

«Kent Hughes says the organization will consider trading young players who play at positions where it already has a lot of depth or draft picks to acquire players who can help in other areas of need, as it has done in the past with players like Dach and Newhook.» - Via Priyanta Emrith

This indicates that the Canadiens are open to the idea of trading a defenseman to add a young forward who can flourish under Martin St-Louis. Since his arrival, the head coach has proven repeatedly to be an excellent instructor for player development.
It's clear that many forwards could significantly assist the Canadiens. Mathias Brunet has listed five players who could be targeted by Montreal's management soon.
Among the names mentioned in his article is the 2019 second overall pick, Kaapo Kakko, who was selected just ahead of Kirby Dach. The Finnish right-winger, who had an outstanding draft year with 38 points, including 22 goals, in 45 SM-liiga games, has struggled to adapt to the NHL's playing style.
Kaapo Kakko's NHL statistics since his debut:

· 10 goals and 13 assists (23 points) in 66 games in 2019-2020
· 9 goals and 8 assists (17 points) in 48 games in 2020-2021
· 7 goals and 11 assists (18 points) in 43 games in 2021-2022
· 18 goals and 22 assists (40 points) in 82 games in 2022-2023
· 2 goals and 1 assist (3 points) in 21 games in 2023-2024

After three injury-shortened seasons, the 22-year-old seemed to be finding his stride, accumulating 40 points in 82 games last season. However, after a difficult start this year (3 points in 20 games), Kakko suffered a severe upper-body injury, sidelining him for about 21 games.
Given that the New York offense already includes key players, it's worth questioning whether Chris Drury would be interested in trading the 6'2", 205-pound forward. Recall that the Finnish winger was selected by the duo of Jeff Gorton and Nick Bobrov, who are now with the Canadiens organization.
A change of scenery could greatly benefit Kaapo Kakko, who appears unable to reach his full potential with the Rangers. Moreover, he exactly fits the type of player Kent Hughes is looking to acquire: a young forward with immense potential who has yet to meet expectations.
If you were in Kent Hughes's position, would you try to acquire Kaapo Kakko?
For more details:
20 JANVIER   |   553 ANSWERS
Former Second Overall Pick to Join the Canadiens Organization?

Would you like to see Kakko in Montreal?

Yes32859.3 %
No22540.7 %
Latest 10 stories