Kotkaniemi: A question of hockey, not revenge for Carolina

If the Carolina Hurricanes have submitted a hostile offer to forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi, it is only for hockey reasons and not for revenge, assured Don Waddell.

The hostile offer made by the Montreal Canadiens against the striker Sebastian aho in 2019 therefore did not weigh in the balance, if we are to believe the general manager of Carolina.

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« It was definitely not revenge, » Waddell repeated several times during a video conference with the media on Sunday. “We did it for the player, a player we know, and we saw an opportunity to get it. We used this collective bargaining tool like other teams have done in the past to get our hands on a 21-year-old. « 

Waddell added that the manner of announcing the hostile offer, incorporating Aho’s number into the signing bonus amount and copying almost perfectly the text used by Canadians two years ago, was the fruit of the of a marketing campaign intended to entertain the team’s fan base, and should not be seen as an arrow fired at the Canadiens.

Waddell has also revealed that he tried to close a deal with Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin in the days leading up to the filing of the one-year hostile offer worth $ 6.1 million. $ in Kotkaniemi.

The Carolina general manager said his scouts had taken a keen interest in Kotkaniemi as the 2018 NHL Draft approached. The Hurricanes finally opted for Andrei Svechnikov second overall, just before the Canadians opted for the Finn.

“We talked to him a lot that year,” said Waddell. Everyone was very familiar with him, not just as a player, but also as a person. We discussed the type of player we see in Kotkaniemi, but also the player we think he can become. « 

Waddell also announced that it was possible for the Hurricanes to fit Kotkaniemi’s salary into their payroll since the defender Jake gardiner is expected to spend the season on the long-term injured list. He will soon be operated on on his back and hip.

To the left wing to start

In the short term, it looks like Kotkaniemi will need to continue his progression on the left wing as he makes his first strokes in Carolina.

Waddell clarified that with the presence of Aho, Vincent Trocheck and of Jordan staal, the center positions were already filled within the first three trios.

“We think he has the talent to do it,” said the GM. We wanted to add to our group of attackers, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on a player like Jesperi, who is only 21 years old and is only going to get better. We feel we are lucky to have him with us. « 

Kotkaniemi seemed excited to have the chance to continue his development alongside many fellow Finns including Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, and within a team that aspires to top honors.

A development that could have been better managed in Montreal, if we are to believe the main stakeholder.

Video: MTL @ VGK, # 5: Kotkaniemi opens the scoring on a comeback

“It could have been better,” Kotkaniemi said. But on the other hand, we made it to the Stanley Cup Final last season, so I can’t blame anyone. « 

Over the Canadiens’ journey to the Final, Kotkaniemi was one of the least used attackers with an average of 13:42 per game, in addition to being struck out of the lineup three times, including twice in the Final. against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

While the Finn refrained from confirming that he felt a lack of confidence from the Canadiens organization, he was quick to point out how desired he had been by the Hurricanes.

“I’ve been given a role for the past few years,” said Kotkaniemi. But I felt great confidence from the first second from Carolina. It was a very good feeling. « 

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