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Should the Canadiens match the Jesperi Kotkaniemi Offersheet?

The Carolina Hurricanes have offersheeted Jesperi Kotkaniemi to a one-year contract worth $6,100,035 total (includes $20 signing bonus). The Canadiens have seven days to match the offer. If they don’t, they will receive Carolina’s 2022 1st and 3rd round pick.

This offersheet looks like an act of revenge for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Montreal Canadiens. In 2019, the Montreal Canadiens offersheeted Hurricanes star forward Sebastian Aho to a 5-year, $42 Million contract which was matched by the Hurricanes. Now the tables have turned as the Hurricanes offersheeted Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi. The offersheet includes a $20 signing bonus, a little tease at Aho’s jersey number. 

The Hurricanes trolled the Canadiens even further with their comments on the offersheet. Canes GM Waddell: “Jesperi Kotkaniemi accepted our offer. He wants to come to Carolina. He sees the core we’ve built here and he wants to be a part of that. We’re proud, but there’s still a waiting period.” This response is very similar to what Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin issued when Canadiens signed Aho to an offer sheet “Sebastian Aho accepted our offer. He wants to come to Montreal. He sees our youngsters coming up in the organization & he wants to be a part of that. We’re proud, but there’s still a waiting period.”

Now the Canadiens have a huge decision to make, whether to match Kotkaniemi’s offersheet or to take the picks and try to go for another center. The Canadiens drafted Kotkaniemi 3rd overall in 2018 and so far, Kotkaniemi has been disappointing, but has shown flashes. The Hurricanes offersheeting Kotkaniemi $6.1M puts the Canadiens in a tough spot because Kotkaniemi isn’t worth $6.1M, but the Canadiens need him to with their lack of centers.

On the other hand, the Canadiens could take those picks and use them to acquire a better and cheaper center like Christian Dvorak or Dylan Strome. The Canadiens could even make an offer sheet of their own for Elias Pettersson or Robert Thomas. However, it would cost a significant amount for the Canadiens to acquire a center based the lack of centers available

The Canadiens have tons of options to consider before making their decision on the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offersheet. In the end, they will likely end up matching the offersheet, but anything can happen.

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