The old adage surrounding offer sheets is that if one team messes with another team’s restricted free agents, they open themselves up to attack as well. After the Montreal Canadiens tendered an offer sheet to Carolina Hurricanes star Sebastian Aho two years ago, they are now facing the consequences. The ’Canes have returned the favor, announcing (in French at that) they have extended an offer sheet to Habs’ center Jesperi Kotkaniemi, which he has signed. The offer is for one year and $6,100,015. If you thought this wasn’t all about retribution, here is the kicker: the deal also includes a $20 signing bonus – Aho’s jersey number. Also this. The Canadiens have seven days to respond. They would receive first- and third-round picks if they elect not to match.
There are of course salary cap implication aplenty with this offer sheet. Kotkaniemi’s $6.1MM AAV would put Montreal approximately $8.38MM over the salary cap for 22 players with their expected LTIR relief from Shea Weber only coming in at $7.86MM. In order to match the offer sheet, the Canadiens will have to shed salary this season, enough to fit the overage and another player to round out the roster. Perhaps even more importantly, their starting number for negotiations with Kotkaniemi again next off-season begins with a $6.1MM qualifying offer. For a team with numerous expensive, long-term contracts, that simply may not be palatable. Of course, the Hurricanes face these same risks. The team would go approximately $1.52MM over the salary cap by adding Kotkaniemi, albeit with a full 23-man roster. They also could easily open up the space if they opt to again waive defenseman Jake Gardiner and his $4.05MM cap hit. The more pressing question then is whether Kotkaniemi lives up to his cap hit, which will also serve as his new QO. At the cost of a first and a third, Carolina will want to make sure Kotkaniemi is not just a one-year rental.
This all boils down to how much the Habs value Kotkaniemi, as the Hurricanes – while they had ulterior motives – clearly felt that the $6.1MM cap hit was warranted for the 21-year-old forward. Kotkaniemi, the third overall pick in 2018, has certainly shown flashes of star power. While his regular season numbers are unspectacular with 62 points in 171 NHL games, his playoff production has been stellar with nine goals and twelve points in 29 games. And while Kotkaniemi is still working on some of the fundamentals of the center position, he is a phenomenal possession player and is starting to fill out his frame and become a more physical presence. Kotkaniemi’s value is all about upside at his age. Both teams certainly see it, but only one team has ponied up the cost thus far (at least for one year). All but one offer sheet has been matched since the turn of the century. Will Montreal follow suit?
Though one of the most entertaining stories in roster building in recent memory, and not just in hockey, Carolina’s vicious response to Montreal’s attempted poaching of Aho two years ago is only likely to further deplete the likelihood of offer sheets, which are already considered a MacGuffin to most. Enjoy this while it last, it could be the final one for some time.
That’s outstanding !!!! Up yours baby!!!
Payback is a bitch. You live by the sword you die by the sword.
I guess Kotkaniemi didn’t like the healthy scratch thing.
I have a feeling both teams are going to regret this, Habs lose him I bet and canes wish they never had him
It’s one year and there is cap space
But the Canes have to pay at least that much to keep Kotkaniemi after this season, so in reality it’s not just for one year. Canes aren’t giving up a 1st and 3rd for one year of his services.
they have to pay that much to qualify him. they could work out a long term contract throughout the season and lower the cap hit.
As I said below, sure, they could do that, but if you’re assured a 6.1M deal for at least one year (unless the Canes don’t qualify him, which would be a huge loss of assets for one year of service), it would take quite a long term deal to turn that down.
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Spectacular! As a fan of neither team, I love this!!!! Also, how much more fun did the Hurricanes become after Ron Francis left? I’m not trying to dump on him, but they went from arguably the most boring team in the league to one that certainly makes things interesting.
You are absolutely correct my friend. The Canes are so much more fun and exciting with Roddy running the ship and Don Waddell and Tom Dundon shelling out out the money and making it fun to come to a hockey game in Raleigh, once again.
What a bunch of jerks lol
Should be more… Sheets offered .
Are you saying that not enough sheets were given?
Bergevin should drive him to Waddell’s house, hand him a $20 and say thanks for the draft picks.
Good player, but not worth that salary. Take the picks and let the Canes eat their own poison pill.
Strong chance the Canes 1st is in the 20s.
Canes win either way imo.
Kotkaniemi for a 1st and a 3rd would be a good trade…IF…they hadn’t saddled him with a $6.1 M cap hit, which has to qualified at that number or higher going forward.
He has to hit his ceiling to make this deal worthwhile.
I agree with JoshBell
I like him, but not at that number, for guy who scored 5 goals last season.
He played great in the playoffs tho.
I absolutely agree, forwhomjoshbelltolled. Nothing in Kotkaniemi’s career says he’s a $6 million dollar player, nothing. So either Montreal blows its cap apart for a serious overpay, or it takes the draft picks and runs with them. Bergevin isn’t stupid.
Well worth the risk for a win-now team and one that may lose their 2C after this season.
So they’d have only one pick until the late fourth round and that 1 pick would be in the 50s, not good.
I was mostly looking at it from the Habs decision to match or not.
While I do think it’s an overpay in AAV, if they can make it work…yeah, the Canes did add a good (but seemingly not great) young player with no subtractions from their NHL roster. This also gives them flexibility going forward if either Staal or Trocheck move on. If they can make the cap hit work, this could work out well for CAR, too.
Every contender, even the top tier, have obvious holes or question marks next year…more so than I’ve ever seen. No real favorite. Canes might have as good a chance as anyone.
For a few games, he did. He was healthy scratched in others.
A first and third for a 1 year deal?
I’m assuming he’d still be an RFA at the end of it.
He would still be an RFA.
Exactly. You’re correct!
He would still be an RFA and they can extend him for many years at a lower cost too instead of having to qualify him at 6.1M the following season if they felt it was warranted.
No, as the article states, the Canes would have to qualify him at the figure on the offer sheet, unless for some odd reason Kotkaniemi wanted to sign long term at a smaller dollar amount. Maybe he would, but I tend to doubt it.
Not only would he, but they already have a new deal in place of habs dont match. You obviously would screw over the team that just gave you a multi million dollar bonus because of how highly they value you.
Funny how you start your comment stating wreckage is wrong just to agree woth what he said lol. Brain a lil slow i see
Habs can’t afford a 6.1 cap hit, nor can they afford to lose another C after Daneault left. This should be interesting. According to LeBrun the Canes tried trading for him before offer sheeting him.
More offer sheets the merrier. Wish it wasn’t motivated by pure pettiness but still more RFA’s should be getting offer sheeted
Yeah new fans wouldn’t understand why this doesn’t happen often.
Unfortunately, It wasnt motivated by pure pettiness, they tried trading for him first and really want him to replace trocheck after this season.
Rumored “Pettiness” is just the icing on the cake!
:D :D Go Canes!
Bergevin: “You offer sheeting me?”
Doesn’t Josip have some grammar to go police? But he has muted me so it doesn’t matter.
@wreckage – @Josip is on a tear, today. Possibly one too many cans of Red Bull, but, hey, once he gets going, there’s no stopping him.
This is all personal from the great owner of carolina. This guy is all about money/ego . Kotkaniemi cash the check immediately. His experience with AAF shows what type of businessman he is. His word is worthless.
wu tang killa beez
As a Habs fan, I think they picked the wrong guy at #3 overall and Kotkaniemi will be a good third line center in the NHL, but not a top 6. I would not mind letting him go and get a 1st and a 3rd but now our centerline would become very thin. They’d need to move Carolina’s 1st and their own in a blockbuster trade to get a top 6 center before the season opener
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There’s a thought. Bergevin turns around and trades Kotkaniemi to Buffalo in a package for Eichel. This could get interesting!
If I remember correctly the Habs can’t trade him for a year.
You are correct.
Take the picks!
Its 1.6 not 6.1. Or well it should be. I like the idea of revenge but in this case wasted money.
1st and 3rd, I ll take it. The draft is in Montreal. We will have 2- 1st Rd picks and Carolina is more than welcomed to have KK. KK might end up being a decent player but he is no show stopper like other top picks. Plus Carolina has to pay him 6.1 this year and Qualify him at that price next year. I’m ok with that. We have enough talent to get us by this year. Plus we have enough assets for trades as well. Next time Bergy won’t be dumb enough to do an offer sheet. If he does make it work. Don’t pussy foot around.
So many misunderstandings.
6.1 + 3.75 + 3.75 = 13.6
3 year AAV of 4.533.
He does NOT have to be qualified at 6.1. He does NOT have to be qualified at all. IF IF IF Carolina decides to qualify him, it will be at 6.1.
But, he can agree to a lower salary in an extension,.
What does 4.533 have to do with it? He will make 6.1M this year and that will be his qualification number to retain his RFA rights.
Yes, they can agree to, and extend him at any number they agree to. But if KK wants he can reject any offer that doesn’t start at 6.1M and force Carolina to extand him for 1 more year at that number again.
He says no to an extension and they either have to qualify him at $6.1 M or he becomes a UFA. At 23.
I’m guessing he’d do just that.
He will have to earn $6.1 million for a second year. He most certainly is not guaranteed anything.
But, IF there is a handshake extension in place at a lower AAV, for example, two more years at $3.75, and he takes it, 4.533 is a reasonable number over the three years.
Canes are allowed to offer. He is allowed to accept.
Signing an extension has no bearing on his cap hit this year. He signed a $6.1 mil contract for one year, that’s his cap hit for the one year
True enough. So, he gets a “bonus” this year, and going forward a much smaller cap hit?
I’m ok with that.