With regards to Jesperi, it was a chronic, minor injury that did not stop him from playing this past season. Jesperi will remain in Montreal for the coming weeks to complete his rehabilitation program with our team’s medical staff. We have been told by our medical group that there should be no delay in starting his offseason training.
While it is good news that Kotkaniemi won’t miss any training time, this is something to watch moving forward. After a brilliant start to the season there was obviously something slowing the 18-year old down in the second half of the season, and the team drastically reduced his minutes. In fact, on three occasions during the Canadiens playoff hunt head coach Claude Julien deployed his young center for fewer than 10 minutes in a game, something seemingly unthinkable at the start of the year when he made such an impact.
Hopefully this procedure will let him get back to full strength for the 2019-20 season when the Canadiens will once again try to climb their way into the postseason. The team surprised many by taking it right down to the wire this year, and should be improved next season with players like Kotkaniemi taking a step forward in their development. With just 11 goals and 34 points on the year, he’ll be asked to provide a little more offense while still offering solid two-way play down the middle.