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Patrik Laine: Jesperi Kotkaniemi mentioned as part of a “win-win” exchange
Credit: Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images
Jesperi Kotkaniemi has been in Carolina for three years now. The former Habs forward continues to have a few flashes, but in 2023-24, it was particularly difficult for him.

It’s looking less and less likely that the man who turns 24 in July will become a true top-6 center down the line.

As a reminder, the Finn earns $4.82 million a year for another six years. That’s an imposing salary, so much so that there’s talk of a contract buyout in Carolina…

But for others, there are other possible scenarios.

In a piece for Bleacher Report, Adam Gretz mentioned “win-win” trade possibilities involving Patrik Laine… and in the one that would send him to Carolina, Kotkaniemi is part of the return, as is Evgeny Kuznetsov.

What’s interesting, though, is when you go a step further and read Gretz’s explanation:

He could be a suitable acquisition for a team in Columbus that needs players who play 200 feet. – Adam Gretz

In reality, if we exclude his contract, it’s true that KK could possibly help a team in a support role. That said, unless the Hurricanes hold back salary for six years, I can’t see any team having any interest in Kotkaniemi (and his contract).

Gretz says it himself: the Hurricanes probably don’t want to pay $4.82 million a year for six years. That said, unless the Blue Jackets really feel they can help him blossom, why would they?

Quite frankly, unless Don Waddell wants to do his former team a favor by taking KK ‘s contract off his hands, I can’t see a world in which the Blue Jackets would agree to take Kotkaniemi’s contract.

Maybe he could be a target as a free agent if he’s bought out… but I just don’t see him being traded, plain and simple.



– The Celtics are NBA champions.

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