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About Last Season: Jesperi Kotkaniemi

It was a career year for Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who made big strides in the second half of his second year with the Hurricanes.

New Jersey Devils v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

Jesperi Kotkanimi: 2022-23 By the Numbers

  • Age: 22
  • NHL Seasons: 5
  • Scoring: 18 goals, 25 assists, 43 points in 82 games
  • Playoff Scoring: 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points in 15 games
  • Advanced Stats: 63.91 CF%, HDCF%, 63.27 GF%, 63.91 xGF%
  • Average TOI: 12:45 ES, 1:49 PP, 0:08 SH
  • Contract Status: Signed through 2029-30 at $4.82M AAV

In his second season with the Hurricanes — and his first full season after signing an eight-year extension worth $4.82M per year with the team — Jesperi Kotkaniemi put up the most productive offensive season of his young NHL career.

Kotkaniemi posted a personal-best 18 goals, 25 assists, and 43 points, being one of just six players to play in all 82 regular season games for Carolina this past year.

For Kotkaniemi, there were massive expectations after the big contract, and the start of the season wasn’t exactly a blazing one for the young Finn. Kotkaniemi had just seven points after 31 games for the Canes, and he didn’t record his first multi-point game until Dec. 30 against the Panthers. That slow start to the season included pointless game streaks of nine and seven games, as Kotkaniemi scored just one point over a 17-game stretch from Oct. 20 to Nov. 23.

But then Kotkaniemi got hot, and the back half of his season was one that brought the promise of what the still only 22-year-old (for one more day actually, happy early birthday to Jesperi Kotkaniemi) has to offer. In the Hurricanes’ final 41 games of the season, Kotkaniemi had 11 goals and 18 assists, the same amount of points Kotkaniemi had during the entirety of the 2021-22 season.

Kotkaniemi’s highlight of the season came in March, as his two best games came less than two weeks apart from each other. On March 5, Kotkaniemi had four assists and a goal in a five-point game against the Lightning. Just nine days later, he scored twice and added an assist in a win over the Jets, his only multi-goal game of the season.

Then in the playoffs, Kotkaniemi was a productive piece of the puzzle for the Hurricanes. He scored in games one and two of the series against the Devils, tallying twice in the second game.

The success for Kotkaniemi was a step in the right direction, as the young forward showed progression and promise in bursts for the Hurricanes. A big part of that progression for Kotkaniemi may have been in some line stability, as he had some much more familiar partners in 2022-23 than he did in 2021-22.

Kotkaniemi played over 230 minutes this past year alongside Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov, as the trio of first-round picks formed a consistent top-six line for the Hurricanes at times. He also played over 150 minutes with Teuvo Teravainen and Necas, as he spent his time pretty much split with those two groups.

To contrast that, in 2021-22 Kotkaniemi didn’t have a single line grouping that he played more than 87 minutes with. He hopped from line to line, struggling to find his place between the fourth line, the top six, and at times even the press box.

But that changed for him in 2022-23, as he spent almost all of his time alongside Necas with just a few others mixed in. That stability obviously helped him out, and that trio of him, Necas and Svechnikov was a factor. They had 2. x68GF/60 and just 2.03 xGF/60 against, as all three put up strong years offensively.

All in all, 2022-23 was much better for Kotkaniemi than 2021-22. In his second year with the team, he found his place and played at a much higher level than he had before. Kotkaniemi isn’t Sebastian Aho or Svechnikov — not everyone can be — but the former top-three pick has plenty to offer moving forward, and he showed that this past season.


How would you grade Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s 2022-23 season?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    A - Outstanding Performance
    (41 votes)
  • 65%
    B - Above Average Performance
    (307 votes)
  • 23%
    C - Average Performance
    (112 votes)
  • 1%
    D - Below Average Performance
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    F - Significantly Below Average Performance
    (2 votes)
470 votes total Vote Now