Montreal Canadiens: Habs Could Buy Low On Struggling Former Second Overall Pick

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers
Washington Capitals v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens could become a beneficiary of Kent Hughes' trade brilliance, with a struggling former second-overall pick, who is familiar to Jeff Gorton.

Kaapo Kakko was drafted second overall by the New York Rangers behind Jack Hughes in the 2019 NHL Draft, a draft that was loaded with talent. Then general manager of the Rangers, Gorton has an inside track to Kakko. Being that he selected the 6-foot-3 Finnish winger, Gorton of all people, knows exactly what Kakko brings to a team.

With Kakko now in his fifth season, his slow start has been a bit of a surprise, after he posted a career-high in points with 40. It was also his first season playing a full 82 games, so there are a bit of injury concerns. But at just 22 years old, the Canadiens could make a low-risk move, buying low on a high-potential forward or putting together a nice trade package.

I always go back to Tage Thompson, and now Quinton Byfield - but Alexis Lafreniere is another great example, too. The trio all took a bit longer to reach their full potential, but when they did their clubs became beneficiaries of their patience. It may be hard to convince Rangers general manager Chris Drury to move Kakko, but he is worth considering.

Costa Rontzocos wrote on Twitter about the idea of buying low on Kakko - and I wanted to shout him out for it. I also wanted to say that, I had considered and even watched a bit of tape on Kakko before pitching this idea. The Gorton connection always made the idea seem like a possibility, and it turns out that Costa agrees.

On a suitability scale, Kakko checks off a lot of boxes for Kent Hughes, who has had a keen interest in the 2019 NHL Draft prospects. Both of Kent Hughes' big fish trade acquisitions were drafted in the 2019 Draft. Kirby Dach was drafted third overall, just one pick after Kakko, while Newhook was selected 16th overall; one selection after Cole Caufield.

Kakko has top-six upside, and there are no concerns about his physical stature - 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds. Lafreniere did struggle until recently, but time is a little less on Kakko's side; as he was selected in the draft before Lafreniere's. It wouldn't be all that surprising if the Rangers were starting to get impatient with the player.

Hughes has accumulated a few players that were written off too soon, and the proof is in the pudding. Dach and Newhook, have shown great promise, which is reason for excitement for the Canadiens. I can see Kakko providing some legitimate value to the Canadiens.

Kakko can be given a runway in the top six, and if he works out with the team, the Habs can address another area of need during the draft. Or, and this is what I would do, still swing for the fences on a skilled forward. Adding valuable assets will help on the ice, and for trades.