‘Legitimate chance’ Canadiens consider not matching Kotkaniemi’s offer

‘Legitimate chance’ Canadiens consider not matching Kotkaniemi’s offer

There is a “legitimate chance” that the Montreal Canadiens are considering not complying with the Carolina Hurricanes’ bid to forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi this weekend, per Sports net‘s Elliotte Friedman.

Friedman reported on 31 thoughts: the podcast, that the Canadiens may be weighing the merits of the $6.1 million one-year deal against the Hurricanes’ crop and the flexibility the 21-year-old offers coming off the books.

“I think there is a legitimate chance that Montreal is considering not complying with the offer form,” Friedman said 31 thoughts: the podcast. “Famous last words, it could change. It could just be a visceral reaction. They have as much as a week.”

The Canadiens drafted Kotkaniemi third overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Having played 171 games with the Canadiens, the center has 22 goals and 40 assists. However, in the 2020-21 season, Kotkaniemi struggled to generate attacks as evidenced by his five goals and 15 assists in 56 games.

For Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, the decision comes down to whether he should spend too much on a young attacker who has an advantage or move in a different direction with cap space and draft compensation. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reported that Montreal may be interested in Christian Dvorak, the center of Arizona Coyotes.

“I think Montreal will make those choices in the league and we’ll see,” Friedman said. “I saw Montreal go to Arizona and say, ‘What would a first and a third be like for Dvorak? Do we have the framework of a deal here?'”

Friedman also questioned whether the Canadiens are going after Buffalo Sabers star Jack Eichel.

“I’m not sure if Montreal is really big in the Jack Eichel sweepstakes. Their bid they knew was lower than what Buffalo would accept,” he said.

“We now know that Eichel has changed agents. There is a long history between Pat Brisson and Marc Bergevin. I just wonder if this changes the dynamic between the Canadiens and the Sabers at all?”

If the Canadiens decide to accept the Hurricanes’ offer, they lose Kotkaniemi but get a first and third round draft pick from Carolina. Montreal has until September 4 to make a decision.

You can learn about the Kotkaniemi offer saga last time 31 thoughts: the podcast episode, co-hosted by Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.

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