5 intriguing players under 24 who should be traded at the NHL trade deadline

Quite a few young players should find themselves heading elsewhere at the 2024 NHL trade deadline, and five of them stand out more than the others.

Jan 5, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (11) in action against the
Jan 5, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (11) in action against the / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Kaapo Kakko is one player the Rangers should ‘sell’ by March 8th

There are a few good suitors for a player like Kaapo Kakko, whether they figure to be ‘buyers’ or ‘sellers’ in the next week. Kakko, like many young players under age 24 on this list, hasn’t produced the way most thought a high draft pick like him would, amassing just 11 points and seven goals in 39 games with the Rangers this season. But he’s also gone on point streaks and has shown flashes of becoming more than just a high pick that dipped well below expectations. 

The 2022-23 season was the best example when Kakko recorded 40 points while appearing in all 82 games. He also had 18 goals, a 14.4 shooting percentage, and he saw over 73 minutes on the power play. Better yet, New York scored seven goals while Kakko was on the ice at 5-on-4, good for a 12.7 on-ice scoring percentage, indicating he can be a sound contributor on the man advantage.

Kakko hasn’t been consistent, but he’s flashed potential

He also logged a fair 52.6 Corsi For Percentage at even strength and 52.4 at 5-on-5, showing us he can contribute offensively in all situations. This tells us he doesn’t need to try and salvage his career as a defensive-minded forward, as you sometimes see regarding first-rounders whose points production has been below-average. 

Speaking of defense, while he’s only logged nine takeaways this season, Kakko had 47 last year, further showing us he’s willing to steal pucks and create opportunities for big plays. 

New York’s top goaltender, Igor Shesterkin, hasn’t been himself for a good portion of the year. But he probably appreciated Kakko’s presence on the ice in the defensive zone, given the 22-year-old’s on-ice save percentage of 94.5 percent at even strength and a slightly higher 94.6 at 5-on-5.