While we are all waiting to see what the Montreal Canadiens decide to do when it comes to young centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi, chatter is getting loud that GM Marc Bergevin has already made up his mind.
A week ago today, the Hurricanes signed Kotkaniemi to a one-year, $6 million offer sheet that he accepted as the team shared that the young centre was looking forward to play in Raleigh this upcoming season. According to the latest rumour, it’s a good thing that Kotkaniemi is excited about the Hurricanes, since Bergevin would not match the offer on Saturday.
While this may not surprise you, this might: an independent pundit who revealed that the Habs would pick controversial player Logan Mailloux in the first round ahead of the draft is now reporting that the Canadiens will not match Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet and will then trade for Christian Dvorak of the Arizona Coyotes.
Since the beginning of the offseason, several teams have been in contact with the Coyotes in attempt to acquire Dvorak. Per Cap Friendly, he’s signed for four more years with a very manageable $4.45 million salary cap hit, a great deal for a young center with his productivity.
The Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks and the Canadiens have reportedly been looking at ways to pry Dvorak out of Arizona in a trade. We know the Coyotes are actively looking to fill their bank draft picks as much as possible. According to Coyotes insider Craig Morgan, they are seeking “a couple prospects or a top prospect and a 1st round pick” in return for Dvorak.
With the Habs not matching Kotkaniemi offer, they would get a significant compensation: a first- and third-round draft pick.
Earlier this week, both Eric Engels and Elliotte Friedman mentioned how the Habs could use this compensation to pry Dvorak out of the desert.
Dvorak tallied 17 goals and14 assists in 56 games last season. He has scored 15-plus goals in four of his five NHL seasons. It makes sense that the Canadiens would go after him and refuse to pay $6.1 million for Kotkaniemi.
We will know if this pundit was right once again tomorrow not later than 5h30pm ET.
Here is the original info from the aforementioned French pundit in Montreal.
TSN's Tony Marinaro also believes the Habs won't match and will announce a trade. We'll keep you posted.