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Carolina Hurricanes sign Jesperi Kotkaniemi to offer sheet

Jun 20, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) during the warm up session before the game four against Vegas Golden Knights of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 20, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) during the warm up session before the game four against Vegas Golden Knights of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes have signed restricted free-agent center Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet, giving the Montreal Canadiens seven days to decide whether to match it.

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

“Jesperi Kotkaniemi accepted our offer,” Carolina GM Don Waddell said in a statement. “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.”

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.

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

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.

–Field Level Media