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Jesperi Kotkaniemi doesn’t belong in the playoffs
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

I don’t know if you’re bored with Jesperi Kotkaniemi, but I’m not at all.

Of course, I would have preferred that the Montreal Canadiens hadn’t drafted him third overall, but you can’t change the past.

Even if Christian Dvorak came in as a “replacement” for Kotkaniemi, signed as a restricted free agent by the Carolina Hurricanes, let’s just say that he hasn’t made himself useful to the Habs, especially since he’s often injured.

Last year, we really believed that Kotkaniemi was going to be a good player, as he had some great moments with the Canes.

This season, it’s much harder for the young Finnish forward.

He’s had his moments, but they’ve often been followed by equally bad ones, if not worse.

In 76 games, KK has collected 25 points, but since December, 54 games in, he has collected just 10 points.

These recent setbacks earned him a visit to the press gallery on April 4, for the game against the Boston Bruins.

Kotkaniemi had played in all of his team’s first 75 games of the season, prior to the one against the Bruins.

He returned the following game, against the Washington Capitals, but his performance didn’t please his coach.

He decided to leave him out as a “ healthy scratch ” for the second time in three days.

In fact, he was almost left out against the Montreal Canadiens on March 30.

It really looks like Kotkaniemi is now seen as the team’s 13th forward.

On the other hand, being the Hurricanes’ 13th forward isn’t all bad, because their fourth line for today’s game isn’t a bad line at all.

The depth is there.

The Canes’ great depth works against KK, but the fact remains that the Finn has no place in the playoffs.

The Canes can afford to leave KK out, but the way he’s been performing since December, it doesn’t make you want to put him in the lineup at all.

Even though he had a good series with the Tricolore, especially during the playoffs in 2021. He tackled everything that moved, or almost everything that moved, and developed a great connection with the other Finns: Joel Armia and Artturi Lehkonen.

He had no assists and scored four goals in 19 playoff games.

On the other hand, KK had a more important role with the Habs, something he can’t have in Carolina, because of the great depth in attack.

What’s more, his recent setbacks don’t provide a valid argument for using him in the playoffs.

With Jordan Martinook, Jordan Staal and the excellent Andrei Svechnikov on the third line, plus good support players like Stefan Noesen, Jack Drury and Jesper Fast on the fourth, Kotkaniemi simply doesn’t belong in the playoffs.

In gusto

– A beautiful message.

– A first shutout in her second career start.

– Listen now.

– Who wouldn’t make the switch?

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