NHL Rumors: Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Carolina Hurricanes and the Montreal Canadiens
An extension waiting for Kotkaniemi if he ends up in Carolina?

Alex Ohari: Montreal radio host George Laraque said that if the Carolina Hurricanes are able to sign Jesperi Kotkaniemi and their offer sheet is not matched by the Montreal Canadiens, that they’d have a long-term extension already worked out. It could come in around a $4 million AAV.

  • Earl Schwartz: If Laraque’s statements are true, under rule 50.5(f)(iv) of the CBA, the Hurricanes wouldn’t be able to extend Kotkaniemi until January 1st, 2022 at the earliest.
  • The rule is in place to prevent this type of sign-and-extend.
More fallout from the offer sheet

Nick Alberga: “The fact that Montreal didn’t match the Kotkaniemi Offer Sheet immediately tells you all you need to know.”

Eric Macramalla: “It’s a lose-lose scenario for the Canadiens with respect to Jesperi Kotkaniemi. So just accept the loss, don’t match and move on. I’m not convinced he makes the Canadiens materially better – and at $6M he will hurt the team.”

  • Eric Macramalla: “Jesperi Kotkaniemi being picked 3rd overall is irrelevant to the offer sheet assessment. That’s the past. Now the Canadiens must assess whether he will one day become an impact player. The Canadiens need to move on – and fans need to move off the 3rd overall pick fixation.”

Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette: The Montreal Canadiens haven’t had much luck drafting and developing first-round picks like Jesperi Kotkaniemi recently – Louis Leblanc (2009), Jarred Tinordi (2010), Nathan Beaulieu (2011), Alex Galchenyuk (2012), Mike McCarron (2013), Nikita Scherbak (2014) and Noah Juulsen (2015).

It doesn’t really make a lot of financial sense for the Canadiens to match Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet. He’d become the second highest-paid Canadiens forward. Next year Nick Suzuki will need a new contract and he’s trending towards a deal at more than $6.1 million. The following year Cole Caufield could be looking at something similar.

If the Canadiens match the offer sheet they can’t trade him for a year. With Phillip Danault leaving in free agency to the LA Kings, the Canadiens can’t really afford to lose Kotkaniemi either.

The Canadiens should take the first- and third-round pick and then trade the first-round pick for a proven player.