It’s been an unusually busy weekend in the hockey world, with yesterday’s successful Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet and Christian Dvorak trade dominating headlines. Both of those moves have some corresponding implications that reach into today’s news cycle, including Kotkaniemi’s future as a playing member of the Carolina Hurricanes. General manager Don Waddell stated in his press conference this morning that the team’s plan is to start Kotkaniemi at the left-wing position in Carolina. It won’t be anything completely new for the 21-year-old Finnish forward, who’s played wing sparingly at times during his tenure with the Montreal Canadiens, but was mostly used as a bottom-six center there. Given his still-tantalizing potential and $6.1MM price tag, it’s likely that Kotkaniemi could slot in the top six along with Vincent Trocheck, but it’s all speculation until training camp begins. What’s for certain is that Carolina aims to give Kotkaniemi more opportunity and a better supporting cast than he’s had previously, hoping to get the most out of Kotkaniemi for the gamble of a price.
Some more fallout from the Kotkaniemi offer sheet, as well as a note about a Seattle Kraken expansion draft selection:
- With today’s news of Jake Gardiner’s back and hip surgery and pending long-term injured reserve placement, the Carolina Hurricanes now have some salary-cap maneuvering to do. PuckPedia notes that Carolina will be able to exceed the cap by $4.05MM, the average annual value of Gardiner’s contract. The team currently sits at $1.5MM over the cap after the Kotkaniemi deal became official. PuckPedia also surmises that Carolina won’t have to go through too much trouble in order to maximize their salary cap relief, only sending two players down to be as close to the Upper Limit as possible before placing Gardiner on LTIR. Martin Necas remains the only non-waiver-eligible player on the roster and considering his role on the team, it’s unlikely he’ll be involved in a paper transaction. Steven Lorentz and Brendan Smith seem likely candidates to be waived and sent down in order to make the team cap-compliant.
- The ZSC Lions of the Swiss National League announced today that they’ve signed former NHL forward John Quenneville to a contract after signing him to a professional tryout last month. Quenneville is one of a few Seattle Kraken expansion draft selections to not remain with the team into the 2021-22 season. Their selection from the Chicago Blackhawks, Quenneville was a pending unrestricted free agent and wasn’t signed by the Kraken. A first-round pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2014, the now 25-year-old Quenneville never secured a full-time role in the NHL and will likely see much more opportunity overseas. Quenneville appeared in 42 NHL games between 2016 and 2020, scoring two goals and five points.