HURRICANES GM BREAKS SILENCE ON HIS DISAPPOINTMENT WITH KOTKANIEMI AND THE WORST CASE SCENARIO IS POSSIBLE

BY MARCO
A few days ago, we learned via host Jean-Charles Lajoie that Marc Bergevin was ready to match the Canes' hostile offer to Jesperi Kotkaniemi and was just waiting for the young player's agent to call. The only condition was that KK's clan accept a long-term contract extension with the CH, something that does not seem to have pleased the player's clan.

In the end, the Canes won the services of Kotkaniemi and gave him an 8-year contract extension worth $38.56 million, or an annual average of $4.82 million. A contract that the organization must regret this season when KK accumulated only 5 points in 22 games, which would give him 16 points in 82 games.

According to what we learn from Cory Lavalette of The Athletic, who had a long interview with Canes GM Don Waddell, this hostile offer was in no way a means of revenge. The GM even explains the reason he gave him that long contract!

No, the hostile offer to Jesperi Kotkaniemi was not in retaliation for the Habs' hostile offer. It was a decision we made. When he was drafted, we followed him and selected Andrei Svechnikov just before him. He had a good first season in the NHL and then seemed to regress. Right now, he is not producing offensively as we had hoped. Rod Brind'Amour and I talk about it constantly. He has a good work ethic and does a lot of things we like but he needs to produce offensively if he wants to play on our top two lines. He is a player who thinks more about passing than shooting and we are trying to change his mentality a little bit.


Will he be a first line center? No. But we hope he becomes a player who can play on our top-9 and be effective." - Don Waddell


Waddell sounds like a GM who had to resign himself to rethinking his expectations for KK, who is not the player Carolina thought he would be when he signed.

Hopefully for the Carolina organization, Kotkaniemi can break through in the next few years because his contract could quickly become a liability... For now, the worst case scenario seems to be confirmed and Kotkaniemi seems to be on his way to establishing himself as a fourth line player.

At his salary, ouch.



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