While speaking with Pierre LeBrun, Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell told him that he hopes to sign forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi to a long-term extension.
The Hurricanes infamously signed Kotkaniemi to a one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet last offseason, and the Montreal Canadiens of course decided against matching it. If Carolina were to offer him a multi-year contract, it would allow them to pay him less than his $6.1 million qualifying offer for this offseason. Thus, it is an avenue worth exploring.
Kotkaniemi is on pace to have the best season of his young career thus far. In 42 games, he has nine goals, 11 assists, and a plus-2 rating. Keep in mind, he just had a 20-point campaign with the Canadiens last season but did so in 14 more contests. It seems that the 21-year-old is starting to progress and that the change of scenery has benefitted him immensely.
At this point of the season, the Hurricanes have a 31-9-2 record and are looking like a team that is capable of winning the Stanley Cup. Therefore, it would be wise for them to try to keep as much as its current roster intact for years to come. Thus, if they can get Kotkaniemi signed long-term at a cheaper cap hit, it certainly is at least worth considering.
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