NHL Rumors: Rangers, Maple Leafs, Red Wings

The Hockey Writers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, what kind of contract is Kaapo Kakko going to get with the New York Rangers? Meanwhile, Ilya Samsnov appeared to get injured in practice. What is his status for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Speaking of injury news, what is the status of Calle Järnkrok and Mitch Marner? Finally, what is the deal with Dylan Larkin’s injury for the Detroit Red Wings? They are struggling without him and have fallen out of a playoff spot.

Kakko’s Next Contract Could Depend on Playoffs

According to Mollie Walker of the New York Post, the outcome of the 2024 playoffs may play a pivotal role in determining Kaapo Kakko’s future contract with the Rangers. The 23-year-old winger, set to become a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights, has faced challenges this season, including a lower-body injury that caused him to miss 21 games. With just eight goals and 12 points in 45 games, Kakko’s performance in the playoffs could significantly influence negotiations for his next deal.

Kaapo Kakko New York Rangers
Kaapo Kakko, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Kakko said of his contract status, “Next thing is just to play as good as you can. That’s still the only thing you can think about. Playoffs, I just think about those and the next game, you know? Not anything else.” He added, “[The contract is] going to come later. If you play well there, that’s going to change something.”

Kakko’s name was floated around at the trade deadline as insiders had the Rangers looking to make a bigger move. Ultimately, he wasn’t dealt as the Rangers feel he’s got a high ceiling.

Is Samsonov Hurt for the Maple Leafs? What About Marner and Jarnkrok?

The Toronto Maple Leafs encountered a concerning moment on Saturday morning, but it appears to have been a minor scare with no long-term issues. During practice, goaltender Ilya Samsonov‘s sudden departure due to an apparent injury raised alarms. Samsonov exited the ice showing signs of discomfort, visibly frustrated as he left.

However, Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe downplayed any injury concerns and noted it wasn’t something that would cause the goaltender to miss time. Addressing reporters after the morning skate, Keefe assured that Samsonov remained slated to start in Saturday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. “Sammy’s fine,” Keefe stated. “He’ll play tonight.”

Keefe’s reassurance suggests that Samsonov’s exit may have been more a display of frustration than a genuine injury, calming fears within the Maple Leafs camp.

Related: NHL Projected Lineups, Starting Goalies, Injuries, Updates

Keefe also announced on Friday that forward Calle Järnkrok will be sidelined on a week-to-week basis due to a hand injury. He’ll join injured winger Mitch Marner, who has missed two games due to a high ankle sprain and has been confirmed to be out for Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes. Keefe indicated that Marner’s absence may extend beyond this game, as he will require time to gradually recover and is not expected to resume regular skating until the following week. When asked about the injury being initially billed as day-to-day, Keefe said, “It’s more than that at this point. He won’t skate tomorrow and then we have a day off so a couple days for him to settle and sort of ramp it back up for next week.”

Red Wings’ Larkin’s Return Remains Uncertain

Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin participated briefly in Friday’s practice as he continues to recover from a lower-body injury, according to MLive’s Ansar Khan. However, Larkin has been ruled out for the team’s upcoming weekend games, and head coach Derek Lalonde has indicated some uncertainty about his captain’s return for Tuesday’s game.

The Red Wings have faced a challenging stretch, losing five consecutive games without Larkin, who remains tied for the team lead in scoring with 26 goals and 28 assists across 55 games this season. They’ve fallen out of playoff content, sitting just outside the second wild card spot. Larkin’s absence has been keenly felt, but the team knows they need others to step up in his absence.

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