Habs could replace Kotkaniemi with very familiar face!

Can you imagine this?


Everyone is focusing on the Carolina Hurricanes signing an offer sheet with Montreal Canadiens centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi. 

The Canes revealed that they have an agreement that would see the 21-year-old restricted free agent join Carolina on a one-year deal worth $6.1 million, which most folks doubt the Habs will match. 

Every insider and pundit has something to say about the Habs’ decision to match the offer or not, which they need to do before Saturday night. 

This prompted pundit Andrew Zadarnowski to suggest that GM Marc Bergevin let Kotkaniemi go to Carolina and bring back Alex Galchenyuk as his replacement down the middle. 

“If the Habs were to lose Kotkaniemi, Galchenyuk is right there as UFA to fill the hole.”

When Galchenyuk hit free agency at the end of July, a return with the Toronto Maple Leafs was still in the cards, though now the option to a return to Montreal could entice him more. 

He started his NHL with the Canadiens, where he played spent the first six years after the Habs selected him third overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Then, he was moved to the Coyotes in Arizona, before he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and then the Minnesota Wild. He went on to sign as a free agent in the 2020 offseason with the Ottawa Senators, to be traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, who never dressed him for a game. 

He was quickly acquired by the Maple Leafs, where he spent the rest of the season, tallying four goals and 12 points in 26 games. He added a goal and four points in six playoff contests before the Leafs were ousted in the first round by the Canadiens. However, it is clear that both teams noticed how much Galchenyuk had improved and what he could bring to their respective roster. Both teams could managed his salary as his last contract was one year at $1.05 million. 

Galchenyuk has 140 goals and 193 assists over 583 career games in the NHL. 

Is he the right guy to take over Kotkaniemi’s spot on the roster?