It may be the doldrums of the NHL offseason, but the Hurricanes officially said, “Hold my summer ale.”
At 5:33 p.m. ET on a quiet Saturday in August, the Carolina club lit up the NHL sky with an absolute shocker: It announced it had tendered an offer sheet for one year and a $6,100,015 salary to Canadiens restricted free agent Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
“Jesperi Kotkaniemi accepted our offer. He wants to come to Carolina,” Canes general manager Don Waddell said in the team’s release. “He sees the core we’ve built here and he wants to be a part of that. We’re proud, but there’s still a waiting period. When you make an offer like that, we saw a vulnerable position. The offer, with the compensation and the core we have, we realized that it was the best chance we had to get the player.”
It’s an interesting move — and a hefty sum — for a player who has talent but has struggled at times. The 21-year-old centerman is coming off a season where he notched 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 56 games with the Canadiens, who went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. He was scratched for multiple games — including Game 4 in the Final — in that run, but he did collect five goals and three assists in 19 games.
Montreal now has seven days to match the offer. If it does not, it will receive a first-round pick and a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft as compensation.
Now that the basics have been laid out, let’s get to the real story: The Hurricanes doing this with a Canadiens player is pettiness at its finest.
Two summers ago, the Canadiens offer-sheeted Hurricanes young superstar Sebastian Aho when he was a restricted free agent.
AHO: Offer sheet extended | Twitter war | Hurricanes match
The move left a whole lot of animosity between the two clubs, more so on the Hurricanes side. How much? Well, here’s the evidence.
Canadiens vs. Hurricanes
First, the Hurricanes gave an offer sheet to a Canadiens player; that’s a simple one. It’s also a deal the Canadiens most likely will not match because of salary cap constraints.
Kotkaniemi would also have to be qualified at $6.1 million next year, by whichever club he goes to.
It should also be noted that the contract is $66,081 below the threshold for Carolina having to give up a first-, second- and third-round pick in the draft. Not saying that was done on purpose in order to give up just a first and a third, but it makes you think.
$20 signing bonus
You’re probably thinking: “A $20 signing bonus? That’s it?” Well, if you want petty, you got it right here. What number does Sebastian Aho wear? Yep, 20. You can say the North doesn’t forget, but my goodness, neither does the South.
$6,100,015 is also a weird number
The $20 signing bonus was for Aho. The $15 was for Kotkaniemi. He wore No. 15 with the Canadiens.
The quote from Waddell is //chef’s kiss//
As noted above, Waddell released the following statement after signing Kotkaniemi:
“Jesperi Kotkaniemi accepted our offer. He wants to come to Carolina. He sees the core we’ve built here and he wants to be a part of that. We’re proud, but there’s still a waiting period.”
Here’s what Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said when he tendered the offer sheet to Aho:
“Sebastian Aho accepted our offer. He wants to come to Montreal. He sees our youngsters coming up in the organization and he wants to be a part of that. We’re proud, but there’s still a waiting period.”
Officially a ‘Bunch of Jerks’
To pour even more salt into the open wound, the Hurricanes’ Twitter account now reads: “Compete official des Hurricanes de la Caroline. “
The account also posted the following tweet:
Per Twitter translate, it reads:
The Hurricanes announced today that they have made a hostile offer to restricted free agent Jesperi Kotkaniemi of the Montreal Canadiens. The proposed agreement is for a one-year term and an average annual value of $ 6.1 million.
Hostile offer, indeed.
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