In one move Saturday afternoon, the Hurricanes both gave themselves the potential to add to next year’s forward group and gain a measure of revenge for a previous offer sheet. The team tendered Montreal Canadiens RFA forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi a one-year offer sheet that would pay him $6,100,015 for the 2021-22 season, which he signed. Montreal has a week to match the offer sheet.
If the Canadiens don’t match, the Hurricanes would have to send Montreal a first and third-round pick in the 2022 draft for the Finnish forward, who scored five goals and 20 points in 56 games last season. In an interesting twist, Kotkaniemi would mean the Hurricanes would have both the second (Andrei Svechnikov) and third players picked in the 2018 draft.
The Canadiens, of course, signed Sebastian Aho to a five-year offersheet with an $8.46-million AAV in 2019, which Carolina matched. This could be a way of gaining a measure of revenge for that. The $20 signing bonus in Kotkaneimi’s offer sheet could be a nod to Aho’s jersey number, and this does put the Canadiens in a bit of a bind.
So much to unpack in the Kotkaniemi offer sheet. #Habs have one week to match - which would put them roughly $2 mil over their LTIR exception space.#Canes/#Habs would have to qualify Kotkaniemi at $6.1 mil next summer.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) August 28, 2021
And the juiciness of the Aho revenge.
The Hurricanes’ official release on the offer sheet follows:
‘CANES TENDER OFFER SHEET TO JESPERI KOTKANIEMI
Canadiens have seven days to match proposal
RALEIGH, NC – Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has tendered an offer sheet to restricted free agent forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi. The one-year contract, which Kotkaniemi has signed, pays a salary of $6,100,015 for the 2021-22 season and carries a $20 signing bonus. The Montreal Canadiens have seven days to match the offer. If the Canadiens do not match the offer, they will receive a first-round pick and a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft as compensation from the Hurricanes.
“Jesperi Kotkaniemi accepted our offer. He wants to come to Carolina,” said Waddell. “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.”
Kotkaniemi, 21, registered 20 points (5g, 15a) in 56 games with Montreal in 2020-21. During the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he posted eight points (5g, 3a) in 19 games. The 6’2”, 201-pound forward has tallied 62 points (22g, 40a) in 171 career NHL regular-season games, all with the Canadiens. Kotkaniemi also skated in 13 AHL games with Laval in 2019-20, recording 13 points (1g, 12a). He registered 37 points (12g, 25a) in 67 Liiga (Finland) games over two seasons with Assat. Kotkaniemi represented Finland at both the 2017 and 2018 IIHF Under-18 World Championships, winning silver in 2017 and gold in 2018. The Pori, Finland, native was selected in the first round, third overall, of the 2018 NHL Draft by Montreal.