While the Carolina Hurricanes are allowed to sign Jesperi Kotkaniemi to a contract extension as early as this Saturday (Jan. 1), GM Don Waddell said there is “no hurry on that front.” Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic took a look at what options lay ahead for the Hurricanes and whether or not Kotkaniemi has been worth the money paid to acquire him via an offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens.
LeBrun spoke with Waddell who said the Hurricanes don’t regret signing the offer sheet with Kotkaniemi, even though it looked a little ugly early on. Kotkaniemi had an incredibly slow start to his season with four points in 18 games. But, since guys have gone down and Kotkaniemi has been moved to center, head coach Rob Brind’Amour says, “He has gotten better as the year has gone along.” He added, “With a greater role due to guys being out, he really stepped up his game.”
The ultimate plan for Kotkaniemi is to take him out of a fourth-line role and put him higher up the lineup. That could come as Vincent Trochek and Jordan Staal either move on or find other roles and that could make signing Kotkaniemi worth it for the Hurricanes. Right now, it doesn’t feel like good value because Kotkaniemi is playing a fourth-line role, but if he’s in the top-six, the $5 million qualifying offer the Hurricanes will be looking at seems high but fair.
LeBrun inquired about whether or not the Hurricanes might try to avoid having to go with a qualifying offer and look to sign Kotkaniemi early, to which Waddell shot down any speculation the two sides have already thought about talking an extension. He said:
“When we talked about the offer sheet, we talked initially about a longer-term deal that wasn’t the right play so that’s why we went short. We all knew there was risk on both ends here, more on our end, and we’ll deal with it when the time comes. We have not had one conversation about what the future is going to look like.”
Kotkaniemi Picking Up His Pace
Lately, Kotkaniemi has been much better and the Hurricanes equate that to an adjustment to the team’s system. The hope is that he continues to improve to make it so the team isn’t looking back that the offer sheet and regretting their offer. Right now, they don’t. We’ll see if that changes as Kotkaniemi either continues to produce or he goes back to being a less impactful player like he was the first 10 games.
/ 35 mins ago
Auston Matthews is going to be given a look on the Toronto Maple Leafs...
/ 2 hours ago
Nick Robertson's choice to have surgery last season might have cost him a spot...
/ 20 hours ago
Brandon Sutter's desires to make the Oilers roster after a health battle that spanned...
/ 24 hours ago
Devon Toews expresses dedication to the Colorado Avalanche, preferring a swift contract resolution to...
/ 1 day ago
When asked about his trade from Edmonton to Nashville, Tyson Barrie said that one...
/ 1 day ago
Marc-Andre Fleury will take the season before deciding on his retirement plans.
/ 2 days ago
Keenan Suthers, an intriguing Maple Leafs prospect is at camp and towering over everyone...
The Vancouver Canucks made it very clear this week where they stand when it...
Steven Stamkos expressed his disappointment that the Tampa Bay Lightning haven't engaged more in...
It won't be money or the chance to play with Connor McDavid that are...