Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Bad Move Carolina

from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Carolina’s decision to tender an offer sheet to Jesperi Kotkaniemi for an absurd amount of money was a petty, childish, bush-league move on the part of an organization that simply refuses to grow up.

Bad enough that the Hurricanes chose to act out of revenge — but to accompany that silliness with a bunch of sophomoric tweets and a petulant $20 signing bonus was an embarrassment to the league and the organization.

All in all, the Canes behaved like a bunch of Grade 5 boys trying to see who can stand farthest from the urinal — and not giving a damn who gets splashed in the process.

If Carolina wanted to make its team better, they should have gone after Quinn Hughes. Having lost Dougie Hamilton to New Jersey, they could use a top-flight defenceman. Instead, they chose to throw an absurd amount of money at Kotkaniemi, a very nice young man still trying to get his sea legs in the NHL.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hank Scorpio's avatar

Jack Todd seems a bit butt hurt by this.  The signing is simultaneously juvenile revenge and quite clever.  Carolina tried to trade for him and couldn’t work out a deal.  The number is high and screws Montreal if they try to match it.  Friedman, in his podcast, mentioned that he believes Carolina has already worked out an extension below the $6 mil figure.  The player clearly wanted out of Montreal, due to how he’s been deployed and benched.  To suggest he’s been done a disservice is just sour grapes.  This was a really clever and well timed offer sheet.  Too bad Jack Todd is too much of homer to acknowledge it.  And yeah, Carolina has been completely juvenile in piling on.  But they legitimately wanted the player and Montreal deserves what they get.

Posted by Hank Scorpio on 08/29/21 at 03:08 PM ET

tkfergy's avatar

I think every fan base but one enjoyed this.

Posted by tkfergy on 08/29/21 at 04:46 PM ET


Juvenile, sure, but also very entertaining.

Posted by ChillDistiller from Michigan on 08/29/21 at 09:06 PM ET

Alan's avatar

The move by Carolina was definitely childish… but I can’t ever recall seeing a team’s fan base turn on a player so quickly as the Habs fans have on Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

He may not be the most amazing player the Hurricanes could have targeted, but it still puts the Habs in a tight spot. Do they match, and as a result, end up $8.3m above the cap? Or, do they take the first and third rounders and chalk it up as a loss? I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 08/29/21 at 09:37 PM ET


This is easy- let the Canes have him.

Posted by pnwwing on 08/29/21 at 11:07 PM ET

Chet's avatar

Montreal *#$%@& sucks. Just a bunch of backward ass morons. Good on him.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 08/30/21 at 05:02 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

I forget where he was projected, but it was a bit of surprise when Montreal took JK at 3 and then Glendale (oops, Arizona) took Hayton 5th was a surprise, too. Both were centers that jumped up simply because they were centers. This was the Zadina draft.

So far, and it is early, Wings are getting the better end of those two teams reaching.

Posted by ilovehomers on 08/30/21 at 07:06 AM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Your grapes… they taste a little funny.

Posted by RedMenace from A Tormented Hellscape on 08/30/21 at 07:21 AM ET


The jury is still very much out on KK.  I don’t have faith in Mtl’s ability to develop him properly, especially since they made a mistake by keeping him as a full time player at 18 and have created bad blood since with some benchings and miscommunication.  I think they should take the first and the third and wish him well.

Posted by dwgs on 08/30/21 at 09:22 AM ET


Frankly, I found it a pretty juvenile move of Montreal to make that offer to Aho with a $21M signing bonus due in year one. So for them to complain when the tables are turned . BOO F’ING HOO.

It looks like a decent calculated move by Carolina targeting a team who also could be fighting with them for a playoff seed come next April. It’s a short-term commitment on Carolina’s part and could make them a better team while weakening Montreal.

Posted by evileye on 08/30/21 at 09:59 AM ET

awould's avatar

The potential loser here is Kotkaniemi, who should be playing next year for something in the $2.5- million to $3-million range and instead is being used as a pawn in a petty revenge drama. I don’t believe Kotkaniemi is ready for $6.1 million worth of pressure in a situation where the extraordinary circumstances guarantee that he will be scrutinized on every shift, whether it’s in Carolina or Montreal.

If Kotkaniemi falls on his nose, either team will walk away from the $6.1-million qualifying offer for next season and, his confidence shot, he signs somewhere for a great deal less and tries to avoid becoming the next Alex Galchenyuk. Yeah, he gets the money now. And he’d better hang onto it.

I bet the player feels like a winner in this situation. By design, the offer sheet usually requires an overpayment, otherwise the other team would easily just match. It is supposed to put them in a bind. Also, playing for a team that moved him in and out of the lineup, with a fan base that has basically no patience or tact, likely messed with his confidence more than getting a fat paycheck that’s the result of benefitting from the rarely used offer sheet. The Carolina fan base isn’t going to scrutinize every shift. The player will have to put up some points, but I’m sure he’s ok with that expectation. Now it’s up to the coaches to put him in a position to succeed, which is maybe where MTL failed. I love offer sheets.

Posted by awould on 08/30/21 at 10:50 AM ET

tkfergy's avatar

Plus all future qualifying is set at this bar, so he can get his next contract as what he wants or walk to somewhere else if they don’t give the 6.1 mil

Posted by tkfergy on 08/30/21 at 12:04 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

One year? Why only sign him to a 1 year deal? If you really want the player, and don’t want to risk your 1st and 3rd on the table, or well more in a longer team deal, why not sign him long term term?

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain's Ship on 08/30/21 at 12:21 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I don’t know of an offer sheet that doesn’t seem silly; this continues to add to the shenanigans. 

Maybe instead of this dumb drama the NHL should eliminate offer sheets all together. 

Personally, I think the MTL offer sheet for Aho was kind of stupid.  This one seems petty and immature.  I can’t wait for the next one - I’m going to run out of adjectives soon.

Posted by TreKronor on 08/30/21 at 01:02 PM ET

Ataris18's avatar

Murray - I think the 1 year comes in as a way to pay more this year but then they can sign him for less money next year.  From what I have read it sounds like Kotkaniemi wants out of MTL and may have a handshake deal to take this pay for 1 year then sign something much more team friendly after getting out.

I’m assuming he’d still be an RFA after the one year deal? In that case Canes still have his rights and they can end up something that is what he should actually be paid.

Kotkaniemi doesnt seem like a 6 million dollar player right now, but that price is right to get MTL to really think hard about matching it. It’s a very interesting story to get us through the dog days of summer.

Posted by Ataris18 from House on 08/30/21 at 03:53 PM ET


Carolina would have to re-sign him before the end of the season if they wanted him around longer for less than $6.1M per year. If it gets to the offseason they have to qualify him at $6.1M or he becomes a UFA.

Posted by evileye on 08/30/21 at 03:58 PM ET

Ataris18's avatar

Thanks Evil. Makes sense. I mean i dont see Carolina really paying Kotkaniemi for 6mill more than this one year. But we will see.

Posted by Ataris18 from House on 08/30/21 at 04:03 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

From what I have read it sounds like Kotkaniemi wants out of MTL and may have a handshake deal to take this pay for 1 year then sign something much more team friendly after getting out.

See that has to be a rumor.  Why would the player be limiting his potential on a future contract like that?  He probably has (and should have) the mindset that he could have a breakout year in Carolina - in which case Carolina is going to have a perplexing conundrum on hand.

Posted by TreKronor on 08/30/21 at 04:07 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com