Why should the Canadiens decline Kotkaniemi's offer sheet?

Published August 30, 2021 at 4:58 PM

The Carolina Hurricanes had no choice but to match the Montreal Canadiens' offer sheet two years ago.

Because Aho was already their greatest player, the offer sheet not only rescued the Hurricanes from a difficult salary negotiation, but also offered them their best player at a discount. The Montreal offer sheet did Carolina a lot of good.

On Saturday, the Hurricanes tried to retaliate by signing restricted free agent Jesperi Kotkaniemi to a one-year, $6.1 million contract. Montreal has seven days to match, or lose salary cap space, a first-round pick, and a third-round pick.

The Canadiens made a big investment in him by taking him third overall in 2018 and promoting him to the NHL. He has showed glimpses of the talent that made him a high draft pick, and he still has a bright future ahead of him. But the results on the ice have been mixed. A healthy scratch in the Stanley Cup Final, he hasn't improved his offensive game in three years, and the Canadiens aren't sure he's ready to be a top-two centre.

He is young. A player selected so high in the draft should be showing more signs of becoming an impact player by now.

So, did the Canadiens do a good job with him No. Has he been rushed and mistreated? Probably. But not right now. Doubtful. If the Canadiens match that offer, they will be forced to a) keep him for the entire season or b) make him a $6 million qualifying offer next offseason.

Concerning the first point, the CBA prohibits trading a player after accepting an offer sheet. Montreal can't justify another $6 million investment if he finishes the year and doesn't grow. It's an exorbitant fee for a guy who hasn't reached that level yet and may never reach it.

August 30   |   120 answers
Why should the Canadiens decline Kotkaniemi's offer sheet?

Should the Habs match the offer sheet?

Yes4235 %
No7865 %
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