Here are two reasons why the Habs may not match the Hurricanes' hostile offer

Published August 29, 2021 at 3:35 PM

During a visit to Paul Houde's show on 98.5 Sports, Ray Lalonde, a hockey marketing specialist, gave his thoughts on the whole saga surrounding Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

According to him, Marc Bergevin expected the Hurricanes to get their revenge this year. The reason? The Habs had made a hostile offer to the Canes' forward Sebastian Aho in the summer of 2019. The formation of Raleigh was obviously looking forward to revenge!

"When Marc Bergevin acted towards the Hurricanes in the same way in 2019, Mr. (Tom) Dundon did not digest it. He was waiting for the moment and the moment has arrived."

Lalonde recalled that Bergevin is doing to himself what he did to the Hurricanes at the time. Tom Dundon, the team's owner, was in financial trouble when the hostile offer for Aho came in. Bergevin had loaded up on signing bonuses to prevent the Canes from matching the Canadiens offer. History is repeating itself, but for the Habs this time, as Marc Bergevin is somewhat stuck with the salary cap.

"Not only did the Canadiens want to acquire him, but they also knew that the Hurricanes were in a situation that was more difficult. There, the Hurricanes owner made this move knowing that the Canadiens are in a special position."

"We know Kotkaniemi is a long-term prospect, but today he's certainly not worth $6.1 million. The Hurricanes made a one-year offer and that gives them time to see if they want to give him a long-term contract. There are all kinds of issues, but one thing is clear: it's the Hurricanes' revenge."

Lalonde also answered the killer question: will Kotkaniemi be back in Montreal? According to him, no, and for two reasons in particular.

"I think they'll let him go for two reasons. There was uncertainty about Kotkaniemi. They (the Canadiens) didn't create the kind of buzz that they have around (Nick) Suzuki and (Cole) Caufield."

"And on the other hand, they don't have the money under the salary cap. They'd have to make some trades to free up space to pay the $6.1 million. My guess is they'll let him go."

If his statements are to be believed, Kotkaniemi would likely pack his bags for Carolina. Montreal still has six days to make a decision on the matter. No matter which way he walks, there will be downsides. Either you lose KK for compensation, which would be a failure internally, as the Habs had high hopes for him, or you keep an overpaid KK, who you're pretty sure you'll have to give the paddle to next year...

What will Marc Bergevin do? Sooner or later, a verdict will have to be rendered!
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