7 days after the offer sheet for the Finn went through, the Montreal Canadiens have decided to not match. What does that mean? Well, Jesperi Kotkaniemi is now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes organization. Carolina will send their 1st and 3rd round draft picks in the 2022 NHL Entry draft to Montreal as compensation for this player, but Kotkaniemi is a Carolina Hurricane.
Kotkaniemi was the 3rd overall pick in 2018. He will receive a $20 signing bonus, and he will make a little more than $6.1 million this year. There are rumors that his deal in Carolina will be extended in January at something far more reasonable for this player, but a deal that will see Jesperi Kotkaniemi become a long-term member of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Kotka is only 21 years old. Dubbed “KK” in Montreal, he’s got a lot of potential to turn into a monster. Bringing in the Finnish center makes a lot of sense for a few reasons. I mean, having good players ages 21 who have a whole lot of room to grow is always a good idea in itself, but there’s a lot more down this rabbit hole than just revenge and Kotkaniemi now becoming a Hurricane.
For one, Kotkaniemi is a Finn. League-wide, Finnish players love to be around Sebastian Aho is the consensus. Playing him around Sebastian and a few more Finnish players in Carolina might help him settle like he never could in Montreal. It’s also a good move for Kotkaniemi personally if he wants to get out of the big-time spotlight in Montreal.
This makes sense for Carolina because they needed another top-six winger. We know that is where the organization plans on starting him. Aho started on the wing too, so this might not be a permanent thing. Wingers don’t play well at center, but centers traditionally transition well to the wing. He’ll get a lot of help on the wing and he’ll be in a position to succeed in Raleigh that he just wasn’t in Montreal.
Carolina now holds his rights until he turns 26, with the exception of an offer sheet or a trade obviously. Assuming that he sees his time in Raleigh run past the day he becomes of age as an unrestricted free agent, Kotkaniemi will have a career with the Hurricanes that will hopefully be successful.