The Carolina Hurricanes have offer-sheeted RFA forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi to a one-year, $6.1M contract. The Montreal Canadiens are currently holding his signing rights and have seven days to match the offer.
We've tendered an Offer Sheet to Jesperi Kotkaniemi 👀 pic.twitter.com/4Mmw3n4DVr
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) August 28, 2021
UPDATE: The Canadiens have declined to match Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet. He’s now officially a member of the Carolina Hurricanes franchise.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) September 4, 2021
Hurricanes Ink Jesperi Kotkaniemi to Offer Sheet
The day has come that Montreal has gotten an offer sheet for one of their players. And of course, it comes from the Hurricanes. For those who don’t remember their history, the Canadiens offer sheeted Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho back in 2019. Aho stayed with Carolina, as they matched the offer, but the bad blood is apparently still here. The contract offered to the player has a $20 signing bonus, Aho’s number with the Hurricanes.
This offer puts Montreal in a very delicate position, as their cap situation is chaotic at the moment. Delicate is probably an understatement. The Canadiens have no cap space to match the offer – or sign anybody, in that matter. They’re already over the cap Kotkaniemi was their only unsigned player. This probably means they won’t even try to match the offer. If that happens, Carolina will send their first and third-round picks for the 2022 NHL Draft to Montreal as compensation for the signing.
What This Means For The Future
Kotkaniemi is a 21-year-old centre that is on his way to his fourth NHL season. Throughout 171 regular-season games, he has 22 goals and 62 points. Before getting the nod to the NHL, Kotkaniemi played one season in Finland, with his Liiga team, Ässät. During his time in Finland, in the 2017-18 season, he scored 10 goals and 29 points in 57 games.
According to the Hurricanes president and general manager Don Waddell, the 21-year-old player wants to go to Carolina. “He sees the core we’ve built here and he wants to be a part of that. We’re proud, but there’s still a waiting period. When you make an offer like that, we saw a vulnerable position. The offer, with the compensation and the core we have, we realized that it was the best chance we had to get the player.”, he said to TSN. The statement is similar to the one the Habs made about Aho signing with them.
Kotkaniemi helped the Habs get to the Stanley Cup Finals this past season, scoring five goals and eight points throughout 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games.