Report: Canadiens chose not to match Hurricanes offer for Kotkaniemi; trade for Christian Dvorak

The Montreal Canadiens have opted not to match the Carolina Hurricanes offer sheet of Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

“The Canadiens will not match the Hurricanes’ offer sheet to Jesperi Kotkaniemi,” the team said in a statement. “Montreal will receive Carolina’s 1st- and 3rd-round 2022 Draft picks as compensation.”

Elliotte Friedman noted the Habs were working on a trade for the Coyotes’ Christian Dvorak which is now complete. The deal will involve a first round pick and another selection.

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Canadiens let Kotkaniemi go; get Dvorak

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.

kotkaniemi offer sheet
Oct 3, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) skates with the puck against Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) during the first period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal obviously felt that he was not worth the $6.1 million that the Hurricanes offered, which would have caused cap issues. The idea to go after Yotes center, Christian Dvorak was discussed soon after the offer sheet was signed.

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 is a cheaper option than Kotkaniemi.

Per Canadiens Press Release:

Arizona trades Dvorak to Montreal in exchange for: i) the better of Montreal’s own 1st round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and Carolina’s 1st round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft (previously acquired by Montreal); and ii) Montreal’s own 2nd round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

However, in the event that either or both of Montreal’s own 1st round pick and/or Carolina’s 1st round pick are Top 10 picks in the 2022 NHL Draft (after the final Draft order has been established in accordance with the results of the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery), then Montreal will instead transfer to Arizona: i) the worse of Montreal’s own pick and Carolina’s pick (previously acquired by Montreal); and ii) Montreal’s own 2nd round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Canes happy to land Kotkaniemi

“Jesperi Kotkaniemi is a player who has been on our radar since before his draft year,” said GM Don Waddell in a press release. “We believe he will flourish in Rod Brind’Amour’s system and culture, and he will be an important piece of what we are building in Carolina for years to come.”

The young Finnish center will benefit from playing behind fellow countryman, Sebastian Aho.