‘Legitimate chance’ Canadiens considering not matching Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet

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There is a “legitimate chance” the Montreal Canadiens are considering not matching the offer sheet tendered by the Carolina Hurricanes to forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi over the weekend, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Friedman reported on 31 Thoughts: The Podcast, that the Canadiens are potentially weighing the merits of the one-year, $6.1-million deal against the haul of draft picks from the Hurricanes and the flexibility offered by the 21-year-old coming off the books.

“I do think there is a legitimate chance that Montreal’s considering not matching the offer sheet,” Friedman said on 31 Thoughts: The Podcast. “Famous last words, it could change. It might just be a visceral reaction. They do have a week.”

The Canadiens drafted Kotkaniemi third overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Through 171 games played with the Canadiens, the centre has 22 goals and 40 assists. However, the 2020-21 season saw Kotkaniemi struggle to generate offence, evidenced by his five goals and 15 assists through 56 games.