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Simon Boisvert: “The next step for Kotkaniemi is Finland”.
Credit: Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images
Jesperi Kotkaniemi never became the player we thought he would.

The Habs selected him with the 3rd pick in the 2018 draft, because they saw him as a future number-one center…

But KK left for Carolina in 2021, and he’s still being talked about for all the wrong reasons because of his performance.

When you look at his offensive performance since joining the Hurricanes, you realize that he hasn’t improved.

In fact, he’s actually regressed this season:

  • 29 points in 66 games (21-22)
  • 43 points in 82 games (22-23)
  • 27 points in 79 games (23-24)

The Hurricanes are “in trouble” because they have on hand a player who is not moving forward and who earns $4.82 million until the end of the 2029-2030 season.

He still has six years left on his contract after the current season, in other words…

At some point, management will have a choice to make if KK doesn’t improve. And if that’s the case, Simon Boisvert believes his next option is to return to Finland.

At least, that’s what he said in the latest episode of the “Processus” podcast with Mathias Brunet:

Boisvert explains that the Hurricanes could buy out his contract because before the age of 26, NHL teams have the right to buy out a player at one-third of his value.

My colleague Félix Forget wrote an article in January about how easy it would be for Carolina to buy out KK’s contract.

But the Snake also said that KK might do a stint in the AHL before thinking about Finland… Because he doesn’t see another club giving him $2M/season to play on a fourth line if the Hurricanes buy out his contract.

Whatever happens, the bottom line remains the same.

The Habs made a mistake selecting him in the draft, over a guy like Brady Tkachuk…

And the Hurricanes made a mistake by offering him such a long contract.

It’s amazing how quickly things change in the NHL when you consider that, about three years ago, the Hurricanes were slobbering to death after acquiring him with a hostile offer…

In gossip

– We don’t talk about it enough, by the way.

– He’s going to be good.

– Well…

– A great mark for the big defender.

– It’s up to him to pull himself together.

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