NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 7, 2021
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin talks about Kotkaniemi offer sheet and the Dvorak trade, plus the latest on Brady Tkachuk and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin held a press conference on Monday after declining to match the offer sheet Jesperi Kotkaniemi signed with the Carolina Hurricanes and his acquisition soon afterward of Christian Dvorak.
Bergevin said he was hoping to sign Kotkaniemi to a two-year bridge deal but the Hurricanes offer sheet was too much to match. He didn’t want to wreck his salary structure when he’ll have Nick Suzuki, Alexander Romanov and Cole Caufield to sign in the near future.
The Canadiens GM admitted he may have rushed Kotkaniemi into the Canadiens lineup before the young center was fully NHL-ready. Nevertheless, he rejected the notion that Kotkaniemi was a flop, pointing out the Hurricanes obviously saw value in him to sign him to an offer sheet.
Bergevin indicated the availability of Christian Dvorak made it easier to let Kotkaniemi walk. He acquired the 25-year-old center from the Arizona Coyotes using the first-round pick he received from the Hurricanes as compensation for the Kotkaniemi signing as a trade chip.
Asked about his future with the Canadiens, Bergevin said he had nothing new to report. He’s entering the final season of his current deal. He also said he wouldn’t name an interim captain this season to replace sidelined Shea Weber.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Few 18-year-old players are NHL-ready only months after being drafted. It usually takes about two years before their minds, bodies and skills have sufficiently matured to make them effective at the big-league level. To the Canadiens credit, they didn’t the same mistake with Suzuki, Caufield and Romanov.
There’s speculation Bergevin has a three-year contract extension on his desk. If that’s true, his decision not to re-sign suggests he might be growing weary of the job after nine seasons.
TSN: Speaking of Christian Dvorak, he’s looking forward to playing in a hockey-mad city with a team that wants to win now. The 25-year-old center admitted hearing trade rumblings linking him to the Canadiens and felt a trade to Montreal was more of a possibility after hearing of Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet. Dvorak recently closed on a new home in Arizona but shrugged it off as just part of the business of hockey.
OTTAWA SUN: Contract negotiations are expected to resume this week between the Ottawa Senators and restricted free agent winger Brady Tkachuk. GM Pierre Dorion remains hopeful of getting the 21-year-old Tkachuk under contract before training camp opens later this month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Shawn Simpson reports Tkachuk won’t be traveling to Ottawa until a new deal is in place. Over the weekend, Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated the winger could get a deal comparable to teammate Thomas Chabot’s eight-year, $64 million contract.
OILERS NATION: Former Edmonton Oilers left wing Dominik Kahun has signed a three-year contract with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League. The deal contains an out-clause each summer allowing him to return to the NHL.
YARDBARKER: Former Winnipeg Jets winger Marko Dano signed a two-month contract with HC Ocelari Trinec of the Czech Extraliga with a team option to extend the agreement for the full season.