According to Elliotte Friedman, the Carolina Hurricanes offer to Jesperi Kotkaniemi isn’t just a one-year in-your-race to the Montreal Canadiens. A deal that appears to be a huge overpay on the surface might just be a gateway to getting the player signed to a long-term, more team-friendly deal in Carolina.
Friedman suggested during a recent 31 Thoughts Podcast –one that was recorded specifically to discuss the offer sheet — that the Hurricanes have already talked with Kotkaniemi and the agent and worked out a longer-term extension that would follow the one-year $6.1 million deal.
Related: Hertl and Sharks Likely To Wait On Possible Contract Extension
Friedman said, “I think they also discussed the potential of what a long-term deal would look like before they signed him to this deal.” He adds, “I think they said, if we can do this for term, what would we be looking at? My guess is Carolina knows exactly what a long-term deal looks like and I’m also betting it’s not at $6.1 million a year.” Marek called it a unique creature where the extension would be lower than the value of the one-year contract.
The $6.1 million Carolina sees as too much for a potential second-line center who hasn’t proved he’s worth that kind of commitment and at such a high price tag. In fact, Friedman seems to hint that if there wasn’t a conversation and an understanding between the Canes and Kotkaniemi, there never would have been an offer sheet tendered. The Hurricanes like this player and while the bonus of sticking it to the Montreal Canadiens was attractive, Carolina wouldn’t have done so just to get a one-year rental. He believes they had to know what the lengthy extension would look like so they could avoid having to qualify Kotkaniemi each year at the $6.1 million number.
Friedman doesn’t know the dollar figures discussed between the two sides, only that he thinks it would be for less than the offer sheet value. Essentially, Carolina was willing to pay a first-round pick in 2021 and a third-round pick in 2022, plus overpay on one year’s salary for the young center to have a chance to lock him in longer term at a more reasonable price. The overpay was essentially the cost of getting him out of Montreal if the Habs choose not to match.
It’s A Gamble, But Not A Terrible One
While Kotkaniemi hasn’t proven himself to be a sure thing in the NHL, Carolina is taking a risk here. They’re betting that he’ll take new steps forward in a different environment and that an early extension will prove to be a value deal when all is said and done.
If they’re right, we may look back at this as one of the few offer sheets that worked as intended.
Next: Colton Parayko Signs 8-Yr Extension With St. Louis Blues
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