Kotkaniemi underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday.
Kotkaniemi underwent this procedure to address a chronic, minor injury that he played through during the 2018-19 campaign. The Finnish forward's offseason training schedule isn't expected to be impacted by his recovery from the surgery, so he should be back to 100 percent well before next year's training camp gets underway. The third overall pick from the 2018 draft had a solid rookie campaign, notching 11 goals and 34 points in 79 appearances, and should be considered an attractive secondary option with starter upside heading into next year's fantasy drafts.
Kotkaniemi has been moved to wing and will skate on the fourth line Tuesday against Tampa Bay, Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette reports.
Kotkaniemi, who was benched for Montreal's previous game, returns in a new role as Jordan Weal will take his usual spot as the third-line center. The 18-year-old Kotkaniemi played well initially, but management sees a degradation in his performance. "He had a really good start and then for him this is a lot of hockey for an 18-year-old," said general manager Marc Bergevin. "At some point, when his play or his confidence starts to get to a point where he's not performing and he's hurting himself and the team, that's when you pull back a bit and that's what Claude (Julien) has done and he's got my support on that." If there's any advantage, the move to the wing could allow coach Claude Julien to give Kotkaniemi more playing time since he can put the rookie out there on defensive-zone faceoff situations with veteran Nate Thompson taking draws.
Kotkaniemi was a healthy scratch for Saturday's game against the Jets, Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette reports.
Coach Claude Julien cited fatigue as the reason for benching Kotkaniemi, who has clearly lost the confidence of his coach. The rookie center is averaging nearly 14 minutes of ice time per game this season but just 11:47 TOI over the last seven games, including two contests under 10 minutes. Jordan Weal took his spot on the third line Saturday.
Kotkaniemi was benched for most of the third period and had a season-low 7:56 time on ice in Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Blackhawks, Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette reports.
During his post-game press conference, coach Claude Julien mentioned Kotkaniemi letting his player go on a couple of shifts that led to Chicago scoring chances. The 18-year-old has been mostly good through the first three quarters of the season, but Julien has soured recently, including making him a healthy scratch for the first two games of the recent California trip.
Kotkaniemi (rest) had three hits and two shots in 15:03 as the Canadiens took an 8-2 loss to the Ducks on Friday.
Kotkaniemi was rested in the first two games of the Canadiens' California trip, and he was unable to make much of an impact in a lopsided loss to close out the trek. He has some appeal in deeper leagues with 32 points in 67 games, and may be a target for fantasy owners in dynasty formats as a first-round pick from the 2018 draft.
Kotkaniemi (rest) will be back in action versus the Ducks on Friday, Dan Arritt of NHL.com reports.
Kotkaniemi was held out the last two games for what coach Claude Julien referred to as rest, rather than simply labeling the center a healthy scratch. The youngster figures to slot into a bottom-six role and will look to pick up where he left off with five points in his last seven outings.
Kotkaniemi (rest) will remain out of the lineup against San Jose on Thursday, Eric Engels of Sportsnet.ca reports.
While Kotkaniemi was held out of the lineup initially in order to rest, his exclusion for Thursday's tilt likely is due to the fact the Habs won 3-1 against Los Angeles on Tuesday, and coach Claude Julien doesn't want to change a winning lineup. The Finnish center has racked up 32 points in 66 games and put together a solid rookie campaign.
Kotkaniemi will take a night off Tuesday for rest purposes, Arpon Basu of The Athletic reports.
Coach Claude Julien indicated that Kotkaniemi displayed some signs of fatigue in the team's last game against the Penguins on Saturday, so the 18-year-old will take a night off to rest up. The rookie hasn't played more than 57 games in a season and has already played in 66 this season, so he's likely working on fumes late in the campaign. After a night off, there's a good chance he will be ready to roll Thursday against the Sharks.
Kotkaniemi logged a goal and two hits while winning seven of 15 faceoffs in Thursday's 5-1 win over Philadelphia.
Kotkaniemi's goal -- his 11th -- a little more than three minutes into the game, was the eventual game-winner for the Canadiens, who have won two straight after a four-game winless streak (0-3-1). Coach Claude Julien has mostly protected the 18-year-old center, but he's steadily given Kotkaniemi more playing time since the start of the season, including minutes on the power play. And seeing him take 15 draws is another sign of the coach's confidence. Kotkaniemi, who averages 10.6 faceoffs per game for the season, is averaging 15 per game during the month of February.
Kotkaniemi picked up a pair of even-strength assists in Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets.
Kotkaniemi continues to impress in his rookie campaign, as the two points give him 31 through 61 games. The 18-year-old has played exclusively in the NHL in 2018-19, and with each passing game is showing why Montreal selected him third overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Kotkaniemi scored his first power-play goal of the season in Thursday's 5-2 win over the Jets.
At 55 games played, Kotkaniemi is bumping up against his previous career high (57 games in 2017-18), but the team's bye week appears to have prepared him for the final two months of the regular season. The 18-year-old has a goal in all four games since Montreal returned from its break. Going back further, the rookie has scored on six of 12 shots over the last 10 games.
Kotkaniemi scored the eventual game-winner in Tuesday's 4-1 win over the Ducks.
The rookie sensation continues to impress in his first season in the NHL, with Kotkaniemi tallying his 26th point of the campaign in Tuesday's win over the lowly Ducks. For a second straight game, the 18-year-old logged over three minutes of power-play time (3:20) and will continue getting opportunities as long as his production stays like this.
Kotkaniemi scored a third-period goal to force overtime in Montreal's 4-3 win over the Oilers.
The Canadiens were heading toward a miserable weekend, claiming one of a possible four points at home against non-playoff teams New Jersey and Edmonton, but Kotkaniemi gave them a reprieve when he lifted the game-tying goal over Mikko Koskinen with just over six minutes left in the third period. It was his second goal in two games and fourth in the last eight, after the 18-year-old scored just four in his first 45 games in the NHL.
Kotkaniemi scored a goal on two shots in 15:38 of ice time in Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss to New Jersey.
Kotkaniemi gave Montreal an early lead with his seventh goal of the season and was a key component on the power play. He had 2:33 of power-play ice time and was set up for several one-timers at the top of the faceoff circle on the right side. Many of his shots were wide of the net or blocked -- he had four missed shots on the afternoon -- but the team's willingness to set him up is a sign of growing confidence in the 18-year-old. "First period, I thought he could have had four goals," coach Claude Julien told Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette. "That was what he brought tonight. He was good." After a stretch of 12 games without a goal, Kotkaniemi has buried three over the last seven games.
Kotkaniemi scored a goal, was assessed a minor penalty, and won eight of 10 faceoffs over 15:32 of ice time in Tuesday's 5-1 win over the Panthers.
Kotkaniemi rejoined the Finnish line in the second period, joining Artturi Lehkonen and Joel Armia, to score his second goal in the past three games and sixth of the season. The rookie's ice time rarely gets as high as it did Tuesday, but when Kotkaniemi's winning his draws, coach Claude Julien will give him some slack.
Kotkaniemi scored the insurance marker in a 3-0 win against the Avalanche on Saturday.
That gives Kotkaniemi 22 points in 46 games this season. He finished off a beautiful cross-ice feed from Jonathan Drouin past a sprawling Semyon Varlamov. The Finnish rookie has a lot of ground to make up against Elias Pettersson (knee) in the rookie scoring race, but with Max Domi and Philip Danault ahead of him on the depth chart, his opportunities remain limited. Kotkaniemi played just 12:49 on the night, once again trailing Domi (15:38) and Danault (19:24).
Kotkaniemi picked up an assist in Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Blues.
The young Finnish center picked up the primary helper on Brendan Gallagher's power-play goal midway through the second period. Kotkaniemi continues to enjoy a moderately fruitful rookie campaign, and with his most recent tally, the 18-year-old is up to 21 points through his first 45 games. He's not scored a goal since Dec. 15, so suffice it to say, his owners would like to see him snap that streak in an upcoming game. His next chance to find twine will come Saturday against Colorado. Kotkaniemi failed to record a point when the two teams met earlier in the year.
Kotkaniemi had a team-high five shots and a power-play assist in Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Lightning.
Kotkaniemi initiated Montreal's first goal on the power play, showing good vision to set up Tomas Tatar, whose blast from the point was eventually put home by Andrew Shaw after a rebound. The secondary assist snapped a five-game pointless drought for the rookie, who has just six points over the last 18 games. While Kotkaniemi's scoring pace has dropped off since late November, the 18-year-old has keeper value.
Kotkaniemi scored a goal and added an assist in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Senators.
The goal snapped a 15-game drought for the 18-year-old. Kotkaniemi does have five points in his last six games, so he has been producing. He's a tough fantasy play -- playmaking pivots on 40-point paces aren't generally playable. But keeper owners know that Kotkaniemi has the potential to be an absolute stud in a few short years.
Kotkaniemi is unlikely to be loaned to Team Finland for the IIHF World Junior Championship, Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette reports.
With few rookie growing pains, Kotkaniemi has established himself as a top-nine forward who continues to improve nightly. As such, Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin attempted to quash the rumor that the Finnish forward will join his home country for the tournament, telling reporters there was only a "slim" chance of that happening. "He's been progressing," Bergevin said. "When he's had a tough night, he bounces back and that's a sign that pretty positive." The 18-year-old center has 14 points over 29 games and has improved his work on faceoffs since a shaky start.
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 23 || 24 || 25 || 26 || 27 || 28 || 29
| 30 || 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6
|MORE CAREER STATS|