Two years after the Montreal Canadiens signed Sebastian Aho to an offer sheet that the Hurricanes had no issue matching, Carolina decided to mess with Montreal a bit, signing Jesperi Kotkaniemi to a one-year contract worth $6,100,035 with a $20 signing bonus.
The Canadiens have one week to match the deal. If they do, the contract would put the team $2-million over their long-term injured reserve exception space. If the Canadiens decline to match, the Hurricanes will send their first-round pick and third-round pick in 2022 back to the Habs.
“Jesperi Kotkaniemi accepted our offer. He wants to come to Carolina,” Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said in a statement. “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.”
But, this definitely sounds a little bit like a meme. And if it sounds familiar, here’s why:
”Sebastian Aho accepted our offer. He wants to come to Montreal. He sees our youngsters coming up in the organization and he wants to be a part of that. We’re proud, but there’s still a waiting period,” GM Marc Bergevin said back in 2019.
Kotkaniemi hasn’t lived up to the expectations of being the No. 3 pick back in 2018. In three seasons with the Canadiens, Kotkaniemi has a career-high 34 points set as a rookie and 62 points total in 171 games.
That’s not the output you’d expect from someone getting a contract of this size. But it’s clear it’s payback for Canadiens mingling with Aho’s deal when they signed him to a five-year, $42.27-million offer sheet in 2019.
Oh, spite can be so fun sometimes.