With Andrei Svechnikov out, again, the Carolina Hurricanes need someone to step into the breach. Since his return from an upper body injury, it's been Martin Necas with 3 goals and an assist since coming back. Last night, Sebastian Aho showed why he'll have a captain's C on his chest soon. Teuvo Teräväinen has 4 points in two games after his own slump. But Jesperi Kotkaniemi has remained off the score sheet at a critical juncture in the season. There is not soul involved with the Carolina Hurricanes that wants to see a player slumping as bad as Kotkaniemi is, and they are not real fans if they do. Still it might not hurt to plan for the worst and start to see what could happen if the numbers don't start to stack up.
This is not a new phenomenon for Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Last season Kotkaniemi had five points through November, then whipped it into shape for seven during Carolina's record breaking December. March was particularly good with 11 points after a respectable January and February. Still there were Canes fans, myself included, not happy with his production slumps that could last several games. With other Hurricanes showing up and showing out, there even was talk of benching him when Max Pacioretty returned.
All that over slumps that lasted games. Not entire months. What a difference a year makes.
Carolina Hurricanes General Managers Don Waddell knew he was taking a risk on Jesperi Kotkaniemi when he floated the offer sheet to him. It was a relatively low risk, but one just the same. Kotkaniemi wasn't happy with the Canadiens, and his has, until this year, flourished in Raleigh.
Perhaps though, it might be time to seriously start looking at what the Hurricanes as a team, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi as a player could get from a move. Especially if a post All-Star Break point streak does not materialize At that point, his trade value would be barely at market value, if not below. Any trade of Jesperi Kotkaniemi after a months long slump would hurt not only KK, but the Hurricanes as well.
At this point, any sign of life from Jesperi Kotkaniemi would be welcomed. A secondary assist, a +2 night (he has one +1 night for the month and six 0's), maybe even something as simple as a fight. Anything to show some spark. It would go a long way for both Carolina and Kotkaniemi's trade value if the Hurricanes were to make a move.
Carolina has just one more game before the break, Saturday against the upstart Coyotes. Maybe Elton John was right "Saturday night's alright for fighting." Jesperi Kotkaniemi could certainly "get a little action in."