Will Cuylle top line

It looks like Kaapo Kakko may be ready for tomorrow night’s game in St. Louis. Per Vince Mercogliano, Kakko is practicing in full in a blue jersey, meaning he is no longer restricted by the yellow/red non-contact jerseys. Kakko was filling in for Mika Zibanejad as the 1C with Chris Kreider and Will Cuylle.

The lines are still a bit unclear, as Kakko filling in as the 1C could mean he’s going to return to the top line with Kreider and Zibanejad. However Will Cuylle, who was the 1RW at yesterday’s practice, was the 1RW today as well. Cuylle is a natural LW, but playing the off-wing isn’t a big deal.

It is worth noting that Peter Laviolette doesn’t like putting rookies on their off-wing, as noted by most of Brennan Othmann’s usage.

If Kakko is going to 1RW, and with the knowledge that Jake Leschyshyn will be centering Nick Bonino and Jonny Brodzinski, then the third line of Cuylle-Barclay Goodrow-Jimmy Vesey would remain intact. If Cuylle stays on 1L, then the third line would likely be Vesey-Goodrow-Kakko.

There’s no wrong answer here, and experimenting to identify backup plans is a good thing. I’m sure both will get a look in the coming days.

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