Fans in New York City and all across the National Hockey League have been expecting so much from Rangers rookie Kaapo Kakko.
We’re even thinking it might be a little too much pressure for the 18-year-old player…
If we look at things on the bright side, Kakko played his most effective game of his 10-game career in Tuesday’s 4-1 Garden victory over the Lightning, while recording his second goal to boot.
However, the statistics experts Evolving Wild have just revealed that after running their GAR model on Thursday night, Kakko ended up being the worst player in the league so far this season.
As explained by Pension Plan Puppets online, GAR, Goals Above Replacement, is “one size fits all number that encapsulates how valuable an individual player is in terms of on-ice play, relative to a ‘replacement level’ player. A replacement level player is a player of a caliber such that they are readily available and can be acquired and played at a moment’s notice. Think along the lines of the players who shuttle waivers every year, or are your emergency callups from the AHL. A replacement level player is one of those. An example would be a player like Byron Froese - a good player in the AHL who becomes very limited at the NHL level.”
We have to admit that it is quite the leap for an 18-year-old from European hockey to the NHL. Kakko is focusing on working and being the play maker and difference maker he was, for instance, for gold medal-winning Team Finland at both the World Juniors and World Championships earlier this year.
The rookie told Larry Brooks of the New York Post he is set on improving.
“I have played 10 [NHL] games and I know a little more now,” Kakko said. “I can be so much better and I’m going to be better. I think it’s coming.”
We should see these GAR stats change shortly then!