NHL Rumors: Decision day for Canadiens on Jesperi Kotkaniemi; and Brady Tkachuk frustration growing with Senators

It is now decision day for the Montreal Canadiens as the deadline to match has come. Will they opt to match the offer-sheet tendered by the Carolina Hurricanes for center, Jesperi Kotkaniemi or not. If they chose to let him go, Montreal will receive a first and third round pick as compensation.

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NHL Rumors: Decision day on Kotkaniemi

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.

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet was the first to report that the initial reaction from the Canadiens was to not match the offer. “I do think there is a legitimate chance Montreal is considering not matching the offer sheet,” Friedman said. “It could change. It might just be a visceral reaction.”

If that is what they ultimately decide, it is believed they would flip Carolina’s compensation package to attain Christian Dvorak from the Arizona Coyotes.

Dvorak is a 25 year-old center and has a current cap hit of $4.45 million for the next 4 seasons. He scored 31 points in 56 games for the Yotes during the 2020-21 campaign and would be a cheaper option than Kotkaniemi.

Brady Tkachuk frustrated with Sens

NHL Rumors Brady Tkachuk
May 1, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk (7) prepares for a face off against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Late yesterday, TSN’s Shawn Simpson reported that Brady Tkachuk’s camp has been frustrated with the Senators. Thus far they have not received a “legitimate offer” from Ottawa.

This seems to contradict what GM Pierre Dorian said after signing RFA Drake Batherson on Friday.

“This is Drake Batherson’s day and I think we should give Drake his due credit,” Dorion said. “All I’m going to say about Brady is that we’re not going to negotiate in public. We’ve had productive, positive discussions with Brady’s camp.”

It is still widely believed that a new contract will be in place before the season starts. However; these contradiction reports do raise some questions.