NHL Rumors: Habs may not match Canes offer sheet to Kotkaniemi; and will the Sharks buyout Evander Kane?

Will the Habs let Kotkaniemi go?

nhl rumors canadiens
Jun 18, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Josh Anderson (17) reacts with forward Paul Byron (41) and forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) after scoring the winning goal during the overtime period in game three of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals against the Vegas Golden Knights at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens have until Saturday to decide of Jesperi Kotkaniemi is worth the $6.1 million offer sheet the Hurricanes gave him.

Yes, it was a revenge move by Carolina for the Habs attempt to steal Sebastian Aho back in 2019. Yes, it’s an overpay to a player that scored just 20 points in 56 games last season. However, he is just 21 years-old with a high ceiling.

NHL Rumors: Canadiens may not match the offer sheet

There has been a lot written and discussed about the situation. Pros and cons have littered almost every site that covers the sport.

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 decide, the Carolina Hurricanes will compensate the Habs with a first and third round pick. From there, it has been discussed they would flip those assets 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.

As of right now, plenty of teams are starting to gravitate to the 6-2 and 195 lb pivot. In his five year NHL career he’s recorded 146 points in 302 contests with a face-off winning percentage of 51.5.

Sharks could buyout Evander Kane

The San Jose Sharks desire to trade Evander Kane was already coming from within the locker-room last season. The recent gambling allegations have made it next to impossible now.

evander kane buyout
May 1, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) talks with left wing Evander Kane (9) in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

So what options do the Sharks have?

The Sharks tried to trade him early in the summer, and couldn’t. Any suggestion they could trade him now, with four years to go on his current contract, is downright ridiculous… One possibility for the Sharks would be to waive Kane, not make him report to the Barracuda, and then buy him out next summer… That buyout would result in more dead money, though, so that’s not an ideal situation, either. There may just be no good options here.

Kevin Kurz, The Athletic

Kane is entering the fourth season of a seven-year, $49 million deal and is their best scoring forward. He recorded 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists) in 56 games. Losing him would hurt the team on the ice, but possibly help within the room.

A buyout would be costly. According to CapFriendly the breakdown would be as follows:

Cap Hit Calculations
SEASONINITIAL BASE SALARYINITIAL CAP HITSIGNING BONUSBUYOUT COSTPOST-BUYOUT EARNINGSSAVINGSCAP HIT (SJS)
2021-22$7,000,000$7,000,000$0$1,833,333$1,833,333$5,166,667$1,833,333
2022-23$5,000,000$7,000,000$2,000,000$1,833,333$3,833,333$3,166,667$3,833,333
2023-24$6,000,000$7,000,000$0$1,833,333$1,833,333$4,166,667$2,833,333
2024-25$4,000,000$7,000,000$2,000,000$1,833,333$3,833,333$2,166,667$4,833,333
2025-26$0$0$0$1,833,333$1,833,333-$1,833,333$1,833,333
2026-27$0$0$0$1,833,333$1,833,333-$1,833,333$1,833,333
2027-28$0$0$0$1,833,333$1,833,333-$1,833,333$1,833,333
2028-29$0$0$0$1,833,333$1,833,333-$1,833,333$1,833,333
TOTAL$22,000,000$28,000,000$4,000,000$14,666,667$18,666,667$7,333,333$20,666,664
via CapFriendly

In the first four years of the buyout, the Sharks would see a decent savings from his $7M cap hit. The concern is four more years of dead cap space in the amount of $1,833,000 that ends in 2028-29.

Will this be seriously considered by the Sharks? I would also assume that there will be plenty of deliberation and discussions within the organization. That should also include some of the Sharks leadership group in the locker-room.