What Could Jesperi Kotkaniemi's Extension Look Like?

Published August 11, 2021 at 7:46

The Montreal Canadiens have slowed down their activity in free agency. Jesperi Kotkaniemi remains unre-signed.

The Canadiens extended him a qualifying offer, but we have yet to hear about it. Artturi Lehkonen, on the other hand, has had his contract with the Canadiens extended to one year $2.3 million, 100,000 less than his previous contract.

Kotkaniemi has struggled to be consistent over the course of a full season, and it could show in an 82-game season. Most people forget he's only 21; he turned 21 during the playoffs.

It's true that being drafted third overall adds a lot of pressure, but he still has many years ahead of him, and a short-term deal with the Canadiens would be ideal for him to prove his abilities and determine his future salary demands.

As a result, I expect him to sign a two- to three-year extension worth $2-3 million. A three-year $3 million deal seems likely, with the possibility of a six or seven-year extension if he proves to be the player the team needs.

However, having different linemates almost every game is not convenient for Kotkaniemi. How can he build chemistry with teammates and play consistently if his starting spot is inconsistent?

Sure, it's possible, but not ideal.

If the Canadiens can't find a veteran centre by October, Kotkaniemi will be the first line's second centre. In addition to providing ample ice time for these two young centres, the team must also find an experienced centre by then.

It's only fair that Kotkaniemi gets the same chance as Suzuki to develop and prove he belongs in the top-six, with a regular spot in the lineup and teammates he can build chemistry with.

Credit: AWinningHabit
August 11   |   149 answers
What Could Jesperi Kotkaniemi's Extension Look Like?

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