Kotkaniemi will suit up for the Hurricanes next season, as the Canadiens elected Saturday not to match Carolina's offer sheet. The Canadiens were unwilling to pay the 21-year-old $6.1 million next season, so they'll receive the Hurricanes' first- and third-round picks in the 2022 draft as compensation. Kotkaniemi is considered a talented young center, but the price tag is quite a high one for a player who managed a modest five goals and 15 assists in 56 games last season.
Kotkaniemi was tendered an offer sheet by the Hurricanes on Saturday. Montreal now has seven days to match the proposal, which is a one-year, $6.1 million deal. If the Canadiens don't match that offer, they will receive a 2022 first-round pick and a 2022 third-round pick from Carolina. Many believe this is a payback move for the Hurricanes, who undoubtedly haven't forgotten about the stunt Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin pulled when he tendered Sebastian Aho an offer sheet in August of 2019. Kotkaniemi is an up-and-coming player, but $6.1 million is a clear overpay for the 21-year-old pivot, even on a one-year deal. The 2018 first-round pick tallied five goals and 20 points while averaging 14:48 of ice time through 56 regular-season games last season.
Kotkaniemi is slated to sit as a healthy scratch for Monday's must-win Game 4 versus the Lightning, John Lu of TSN.ca reports. Kotkaniemi logged just 11:38 of ice time in Friday's Game 3 loss after averaging 14:09 through the first two games of the series, so the writing was on the wall to an extent in regards to his status for Monday's must-win contest. If the Canadiens are unable to stave off elimination, Kotkaniemi will finish the season having picked up 20 points through 56 games.
Kotkaniemi had an assist, three hits and two PIM in Monday's 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Kotkaniemi provided good support on a Montreal foray, digging out a loose puck along the boards and feeding Ben Chiarot for the Canadiens' lone goal. It was Kotkaniemi's fourth point in the last six playoff contests.
Kotkaniemi provided an assist and two penalty minutes in Monday's 5-1 loss to the Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The 20-year-old forward passed the puck to Ben Chiarot late in the 2nd period, who's point shot found it's way through several Tampa players to give the Habs life. Outside of the assist, Kotkaniemi was very much a non-factor in this game, registering no shots on goal and playing just 12:49 in the contest. The Finnish center has eight points in 17 games this postseason and will look to help his team get back on track in Wednesday night's Game 2 in Tampa Bay.
Last 7 Games
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