Just as star defenseman Adam Fox is coming off long-term injured reserve, the New York Rangers are putting another player on that list in Kaapo Kakko.
The Blueshirts announced that they’ve put the 22-year-old right-winger on LTIR after he suffered a leg injury during a 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
Kakko collided with Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson and fell awkwardly into the endboards where he was seen clutching his knee. He needed help off the ice and did not return.
Moving Kakko to the LTIR means that he’ll have to miss a minimum of 24 days. The Rangers have 11 games during that stretch, including a Dec. 22 matchup with the Edmonton Oilers that would be his first day eligible to return. They play the Sabres in Buffalo the following night.
Early indications suggest that Kakko will not be ready to return to the ice by then, but the injury is not believed to be one that will end his 2023-24 season.
In 20 games this year, Kakko has recorded just two goals and one assist as he continues to struggle to live up to the high expectations placed upon him when New York selected him No. 2 overall at the 2019 NHL Draft.