The focus has been on Jesperi Kotkaniemi and the offer sheet he accepted from the Carolina Hurricanes. The Montreal Canadiens now have until Saturday night to match it or let their first-round pick in 2018 go to Raleigh.
While most pundits and insiders are focused on the Habs’ pending decision, one reporter is throwing an interesting speculation how there. Andrew Zadarnowski wonders if Kotkaniemi has accepted the Canes’ one-year, $6.1 million offer, not only because he would never have gotten this much in Montreal, but also because he knew he was on his way out of Montreal.
Zadarnowski wonders if the Canadiens were working on a Jack Eichel trade and could have shipped Kotkaniemi out to Buffalo. The pundit makes it clear he is only spitballing, but you have to admit the hypothesis is a good one.
“Just spitballing here, but what if Kotkaniemi knew that he was about to be traded (Buffalo?), and decided to control his own destiny.”
Chatter on a possible trade between the Sabres and Habs that involves Eichel has gotten louder ever since the Hurricanes tended the offer sheet to Kotkaniemi.
With agent Pat Brisson coming in, the Canadiens have become a rumoured destination for Eichel. And the Habs would get the Hurricanes’ first- and third-round picks in next year’s draft if they don’t match Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet, and could offer up two first-round picks and a prospect would bring Eichel to Montreal.
This idea has been discussed by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Eric Engels, though they also wonder if the Canadiens could also use those same picks in a Christian Dvorak trade out of Arizona.
We might never know if Kotkaniemi accepted to get control of his destiny and not end up in Buffalo, but you have to admit this makes a lot of sense.