Oct 16: The Canadiens have made it official, announcing the loan for the start of the 2020-21 season. In the release, it explains that Kotkaniemi is expected back at the start of training camp.
Oct 15: The Canadiens are working on a loan agreement to loan Jesperi Kotkaniemi to Assat Pori of the SM-liiga, GM Marc Bergevin confirmed to reporters, including Sportsnet’s Eric Engels (Twitter link), on a media call earlier today. The agreement is expected to be finalized over the next few days.
The 20-year-old struggled considerably in his sophomore campaign, collecting just six goals and two assists in 36 games with Montreal before being sent to AHL Laval in early February. He was more productive there, picking up a goal and 12 assists in 13 games before suffering a splenic injury that would have ended his season had it been a normal year. But with the pandemic delaying the start of the playoffs, Kotkaniemi was available to play and suited up in all 10 games, picking up four goals.
Assuming the loan is completed, Kotkaniemi will be returning to a program that he’s familiar with having played in Assat’s system before being drafted with the number three pick back in 2018. After the tough season he had, he’ll now have an opportunity to suit up at home before returning to North America where he will enter the final year of his entry-level contract in the hopes of securing a big raise on his next deal.