Hurricanes await word from Montreal on Kotkaniemi decision

Carolina Hurricanes

Montreal Canadiens centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) leaps to try to deflect a shot in front of Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart (79) during third period NHL Eastern Conference Stanley Cup first round playoff hockey action in Toronto, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Carolina Hurricanes may get an early Christmas present on Saturday.

That’s the day the Montreal Canadiens need to make a decision.

Overpay and keep a future key piece to their organization, or let him go and not blow up their salary cap.

One week ago, the Hurricanes got Jesperi Kotkaniemi to sign an offer sheet.

It’s a one-year, $6.1 million deal and if the Canadiens don’t match that offer on Saturday, Carolina will get a really good young player with a tremendous upside.

Montreal is cash-strapped and the feeling is the Canadiens will not match the offer, allowing the former third overall pick to become a Hurricane.

So how did we get to this point?

Offer sheets are rarely utilized and some feel it’s almost like a gentleman’s agreement not to offer sheet another team’s player.

But that’s exactly what Montreal did on July 1, 2019 when they signed current Canes star Sebastian Aho to a 5-year, $8.5 million dollar offer sheet, including a first-year salary of $12 million.

Obviously, the Canes matched that offer, and Carolina owner Tom Dundon took a big financial hit in doing so.

Now it’s Dundon’s turn to hit back.

Many feel this is a petty move by the Hurricanes owner (Kotkaniemi was given a $20 signing bonus which just so happens to be Aho’s jersey number).

But if the Canes do get the young center it will give them another option at middle ice although Kotkaniemi will most likely be slotted to play forward in Carolina.

Regardless it should make for an interesting Saturday.

While most of the sports world will be fixated on the first full week of college football, the Carolina Hurricanes could steal a bit of that thunder with the addition of Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

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