Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi
Photo credit: Hurricanes

Jesperi Kotkaniemi to Lose His NHL Contract? Major Revelation Emerges in Carolina

Published March 9, 2024 at 3:04 PM

As you know, Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Don Waddell has been very active on the trade market. First, he acquired the top forward available on the market in Jake Guentzel on Thursday night. Moreover, he kicked off Friday morning by acquiring Russian centerman Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Following these two transactions, many observers questioned the future of former Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi. After all, Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, and Jack Drury are all ahead of him in the team's hierarchy, and now Evgeny Kuznetsov must be added to this equation.

There's no doubt that the former number 92 of the Capitals was acquired with the intention of giving him the second-line center position, which could potentially relegate Jesperi Kotkaniemi to the stands. It's likely that the Hurricanes deeply regret their decision to have offered him a contract still valid for six seasons at an annual salary of 4.82 million dollars.

"Will Jesperi Kotkaniemi be traded this summer? Or will his contract be bought out? He was the 4th center for the Hurricanes before acquiring Kuznetsov" - Simon-Olivier Lorange

Remember, if Don Waddell wishes to buy out Kotkaniemi's contract before July 1, its impact on the salary cap would only be $885,000. It wouldn't be surprising at all if the GM considered such a possibility, especially knowing that Sebastian Aho, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Jordan Staal all have valid contracts for the next season.

Furthermore, given that Rob Brind'Amour's team is composed of several talented forwards such as Jake Guentzel, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Martin Necas, Seth Jarvis, Jesper Fast, and Stefan Noesen, it's legitimate to wonder if Jesperi Kotkaniemi will be used on the wing or simply left aside for the rest of the season.

What a sad conclusion for the 3rd overall pick in the 2018 draft!

"Jesperi Kotkaniemi has 1 goal and 5 points in his last 29 games.

I asked Rod Brind'Amour what he thought of KK's play recently, and he essentially told me he wasn't giving him the same ice time as before because Jack Drury was playing great hockey." - Anthony Martineau

After a strong start to the season where he accumulated six goals and seven assists (13 points) in 14 games, his playing time has significantly decreased, sometimes even struggling to reach the 10-minute mark in recent games.

Unless there's a significant turnaround, it seems likely that his time in Carolina could soon come to an end.

Credit: Habs et LNH
March 9   |   244 answers
Jesperi Kotkaniemi to Lose His NHL Contract? Major Revelation Emerges in Carolina

Should the Hurricanes buyout KK?

Yes19881.1 %
No4618.9 %
Latest 10 stories