According to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Montreal Canadiens are considering not matching the $6.1 million offer sheet tendered to 21-year-old Jesperi Kotkaniemi by the Carolina Hurricanes this weekend.
Friedman said on his 31 Thoughts: The Podcast that Montreal could just take the draft picks from Carolina and save the money.
If the Canadiens don’t match, it will receive a first and a third-round draft pick in 2022 from Carolina.
If they do match the offer, well, they’ll be paying Kotkaniemi $6.1 million this coming season and perhaps the following one as well.
By not matching, the Canadiens could also get the NHL trade market rolling once again.
Montreal has until Saturday to make its decision.
“Famous last words,” Friedman said on his popular podcast. “It could change. It might just be a visceral reaction. They do have a week.”
Offer sheets from one team being offered to a another’s restricted free agent is not new — but many general managers have shied away from making them over the years not wanting to ruffle feathers among friends.
Carolina tossed that thinking out the window.
Montreal signed Carolina’s Sebastian Aho to an offer sheet two years ago — the Hurricanes matched but it was costly — and it’s obvious they have not let that one go.
While Carolina seems high on Kotkoniemi, who was the third-overall pick in 2018 and has 62 points in 171 games with the Canadiens, the Canes made sure Montreal got the message they’re not over it.
For instance, the contract includes a $20 signing bonus (yeah, twenty bucks). Aho wears No. 20.
Carolina also did a cut-and-paste in the release announcing the signing, one mirroring what Montreal sent out when it signed Aho.
The Hurricanes also sent out their signing announcement tweet in French.
Regardless, Kotkoniemi is about to get paid.
At $6.1 million this season, he’ll rank fourth among Carolina forwards ahead of Vincent Trocheck who goes into the final year of the six-year deal he signed with the Panthers in 2016.
FLORIDA PANTHERS LINKS
In case you missed it, we looked at what Sasha Barkov’s new contract may look like.
Barkov is still in Finland but says he will be back in town to start preparing for camp in the coming days. That new contract extension should come soon afterward. (FHN)
— Looks like the NHL is close to having its players participate in the upcoming Beijing games. (FHN)
— Rob Stevenson has been hired by the Panthers to become Senior Vice President and General Manager of Facilities at Sunrise Sports & Entertainment.
Stevenson will oversee operations, facilities management, human resources, and event services for the Florida Panthers, BB&T Center and Panthers IceDen. (Panthers)
— Matt Larkin ranks his top 250 fantasy hockey players for the 2021-22 season. (Hockey News)
AROUND THE NHL
Sidney Crosby and Nathan McKinnon have a new Tim Hortons ad in the works.
You’ll probably have to watch Canadian television to see it though. (PHN)
— Five questions about the Red Wings heading into training camp. (DHN)
— San Jose prospect Ivan Chekhovich is headed to the KHL. (SJHN)