Hurricanes enjoying backlash for signing Canadiens’ Jesperi Kotkaniemi to offer sheet

The Carolina Hurricanes made a bold move by signing restricted free-agent center Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet. This was also payback for what the Montreal Canadiens did in 2019 by giving Sebastian Aho an offer sheet. They now have until Saturday to decide to match.

The deal tendered to Kotkaniemi is for one year at $6.1 million.

If the Canadiens decline to match the offer, the Hurricanes will have to send their first- and third-round picks in 2022 to Montreal.

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Hurricanes trolled the Canadiens after the move

It was also a chance for the Hurricanes to poke back at the Canadiens for signing forward Sebastian Aho to an offer sheet in 2019.

The Hurricanes matched that offer to keep Aho in the fold, but they tweeted out the news of Kotkaniemi’s signing in French and minutes later tweeted a photo of an Uno reverse card.

Then in a statement from Carolina GM Don Waddell, he basically used the same verbiage as his Canadiens’ counterpart Marc Bergevin when he inked Aho.

“Jesperi Kotkaniemi accepted our offer,” he said. “He wants to come to Carolina.”

“He sees the core we’ve built here and he wants to be a part of that. We’re proud, but there’s still a waiting period. When you make an offer like that, we saw a vulnerable position. The offer, with the compensation and the core we have, we realized that it was the best chance we had to get the player.”

After the dust settled from the signing, the Hurricanes promoted their “Bunch of Jerks” tee-shirt for fans to buy.

Hurricanes love the backlash

carolina hurricanes backlash
Hurricanes getting backlash for handling of offer sheet (Twitter)

The Canes critics came out in full force calling the franchise childish for the way they conducted themselves after the signing.

One writer for the Montreal Gazette, Jack Todd called the move “Bush-League” and didn’t hold back his opinion.

All in all, the Canes behaved like a bunch of Grade 5 boys trying to see who can stand farthest from the urinal — and not giving a damn who gets splashed in the process.

Montreal Gazette

Todd also accused them of not wanting Kotkaniemi, but just doing this out of revenge.

Kotkaniemi, 21, had five goals and 15 assists in 56 games last season. In three NHL seasons, all with Montreal, the No. 3 overall pick in 2018 has scored 22 goals and added 40 assists in 171 games. His upside is still high, so I wouldn’t call this strictly a revenge play.

So who is to blame for all this? Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reported that this all came down from the top. Hurricanes owner, Tom Dundon wanted to do this offer sheet. It is also believed he fully approved of the Hurricanes PR and marketing campaign after the move.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report