Carolina Hurricanes and Kotkaniemi Must Accept Mistake and Move on

Colorado Avalanche v Carolina Hurricanes
Colorado Avalanche v Carolina Hurricanes / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

One player who has underperformed in his contract is Jesperi Kotkaniemi. The Carolina Hurricanes and general manager, Don Waddell invested a lot of money in this young man and has been playing limited minutes in big games. In the last series, Kotkaniemi's highest minutes in a game was 10:57. Admitting a mistake is hard to do in life, but it needs to be done sooner rather than later.

The young Finnish forward is just 23 years old but has played 6 years in the NHL already. Still growth to be had, Kotkaniemi has shown flashes of why he was drafted third overall by Montreal. The consistency has never been there and the signs of talent are minimal lately.

Because of the way that Kotkaniemi was acquired, the pressure was on the player and the team to succeed but once the long-term contract was signed, the clock started on the young player. In a salary cap world, $4,82 million was a lot for a role player but potentially a steal for a star.

It became evident that this roster was ready to take the next step towards winning a Stanley Cup and Waddell went for it at the trade deadline acquiring Jake Guentzel and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Two big-time forwards that would slide right into the lineup. This showed the lack of confidence in players like Kotkaniemi while diminishing roles greatly.

The role of the 23-year-old was clear at the most important time of the year. This is not a player that is trusted in big moments. Of course, the age will bring hope but time is running out. This off-season seems like a good opportunity to part ways, but does Carolina management have the willingness to admit fault?

If buying out Kotkaniemi is an option, it could happen this summer and it would save the team money in the long run, but also will have his cap hit last longer.

In my opinion, his age and skill must have other general managers interested in the potential of the young center. Maybe the Canes would take on some salary or more likely attach a draft asset with Kotkaniemi to rid the contract. With the plethora of draft choices next month, Carolina has the ability to dangle a pick or two.

If this organization is serious about winning the Stanley Cup then ridding the roster and salary cap of Kotkaniemi is a must.