Hurricanes GM makes major statement on Kotkaniemi and his disappointments and it's getting people talking

Published December 6, 2022 at 1:27 PM

The Carolina Hurricanes thought they had made the move of the year when they snatched Jesperi Kotkaniemi from Montreal via a hostile offer that was ultimately not matched by the Habs in the summer of 2021.

The Canes won the services of Kotkaniemi and will have given him an eight-year contract extension with an annual average of 4.82 million, despite a disappointing first season in Raleigh.

Let's just say that this outrageous contract extension doesn't sit well with team GM Don Waddell, as KK has only accumulated 5 points in 22 games, which would give him a miserable total of 16 points over a full 82 game campaign.

According to what we learn from Cory Lavalette of The Athletic, who had a long interview with Waddell, this hostile offer was in no way a means of revenge, from the Tricolore who had used this same ploy in 2019 for Sebastian Aho. The GM even explains the reason why he gave him this long contract.

"No, the hostile offer to Jesperi Kotkaniemi was not to get back at the hostile offer of the Canadiens. It was a decision we made. When he was drafted, we followed him and selected Andrei Svechnikov just before him. He had a good first season in the NHL and then seemed to regress. Right now, he is not producing offensively as we had hoped. Rod Brind'Amour and I talk about it constantly. He has a good work ethic and does a lot of things we like, but he needs to produce offensively if he wants to play on our top two lines. He is a player who thinks more about passing than shooting and we are trying to change his mentality a little bit.

Will he be a first line center? No. But we hope he becomes a player who can play on our top-9 and be effective." - Don Waddell


When Hurricanes management realizes they have to lower their expectations for the third overall pick in the 2018 draft, it's going to be very bad. There's no longer even any certainty in Carolina that Kotkaniemi will become a second-line player, and now, instead, they're hoping he'll eventually be able to play on the team's top-9 on a regular basis.

Clearly, when the team offered him this new 4.82 million dollar deal, they saw him as a player who could support the team's offense behind Aho.

With the season he's having this year, which is already his fifth in the NHL, you have to believe that the Finn just doesn't have the skills to be an offensive threat and it's not because of bad linemates, he played mostly with Andrei Svechnikov, Martin Necas and Teuvo Teravainen.

It's getting expensive for a player who is not yet able to play regularly on a third line!

Finally, the Hurricanes seem to have done the Habs a big favor by offering them this hostile offer.

Credit: Habs & NHL
December 6   |   97 answers
Hurricanes GM makes major statement on Kotkaniemi and his disappointments and it's getting people talking

Will KK ever play on a second line?

Yes2727.8 %
No7072.2 %
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