The Carolina Hurricanes have officially tendered an offer sheet to Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi, a reported one-year deal worth $6.1 million. The move appears to many as a clear case of revenge on Carolina's part for Montreal's past offer sheet offer to Sebastien Aho; the Hurricanes didn't do anything to dispel those rumors after they promised Kotkaniemi a $20 signing bonus, the same sweater number Aho wears.
Needless to say, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will have a tough decision on his hands - either match the offer, or allow Kotkaniemi to walk and receive draft capital as compensation.
However, according to former NHL enforcer and current TVA sports analyst Georges Laraque, it's a blessing in disguise.
Check out his reasoning in a recent piece he penned for Sports Illustrated:
"I can't say I was shocked when I heard that the Carolina Hurricanes tendered an offer sheet to forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi. But I started to laugh. The first thing that came to my mind? Don’t piss off a billionaire because it can come back to haunt you.
In that case, does it haunt the Habs? I’m not so sure, and in the contrary, I think it helps them out.
We all remember back in 2019 when Sebastien Aho signed the huge offer sheet from the Canadiens with a large signing bonus. Gerry Johannson, who represents Aho, made Marc Bergevin believe that the Canes would not match that offer. I never thought one second the owner of the Canes would let his best player go – and of course, he didn’t.
What message would he send to his fans if he did?
The agent did his job: he got his client a ton of money, a big signing bonus and brought in a big commission. Of course, Bergevin was not happy with him because it made him look bad. It was never going to work. But more importantly, he now had the full attention of the owner of the Hurricanes: Mr. Thomas Dundon."
"To me, I see him being a third-line center in the NHL at best. With Nick Suzuki, Montreal has their No. 1 guy, and Kotkaniemi wasn’t ready to fill the role of a number 2 center. The first and third round picks can help the Habs use them to get the right player to fill the void.
And then the joke would be on the Hurricanes, who would now have a big salary cap problem and stuck with an overpaid center."
Do you agree with Laraque's sentiments?