NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2021
The Canadiens don’t match the Hurricanes’ offer sheet for Jesperi Kotkaniemi and acquire Christian Dvorak from the Coyotes. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
KOTKANIEMI OFFICIALLY WITH THE HURRICANES
MONTREAL GAZETTE/THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Montreal Canadiens announced yesterday they would not match the one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet Jesperi Kotkaniemi signed with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canadiens received the Hurricanes’ first and third-round picks in the 2022 NHL Draft as compensation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first time a player has been successfully signed away from another club via offer sheet since the Edmonton Oilers inked the Anaheim Ducks’ Dustin Penner to a multi-year contract in 2007. While the Hurricanes PR department delighted in taunting the Canadiens on social media, at least there were no threats of a barn fight among general managers.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was pressed for salary cap space, the Hurricanes boxed him in with that offer sheet and he couldn’t justify that investment on a promising but inconsistent young forward. Matching the offer would’ve blown his salary structure apart, leaving the Canadiens with limited cap room for the coming season and create a potential cap headache for next season to qualify Kotkaniemi’s rights.
Cap Friendly shows the Hurricanes above the $81.5 million cap by over $1.5 million but they’re expected to put defenseman Jake Gardiner on long-term injury reserve for the start of the season. Given their depth at center, Kotkaniemi will likely be a winger on their second or third line.
CANADIENS ACQUIRE DVORAK FROM COYOTES
The Coyotes will receive the highest of the Canadiens’ two first-round picks in the 2022 draft plus a 2024 second-rounder. However, if either or both of the Canadiens’ picks are among the top-10, the Coyotes get the lower of the two picks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens were linked to the 25-year-old Dvorak throughout last week. He’s a skillful underrated two-way center carrying a $4.45 million annual average value for the next four seasons. Dvorak should prove a worthwhile fit as the Habs second-line center.
Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has been busy this summer rebuilding his club by shipping out veteran assets for draft picks. He now has eight picks in the first two rounds of next year’s draft, including three first-rounders. Armstrong could keep those picks but it wouldn’t surprise me if he uses some of them as trade bait to acquire promising young NHL talent.
IN OTHER NEWS…
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars head coach Rick Bowness said Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, Roope Hintz and Joel Hanley have recovered from the injuries that sidelined/hampered them for much of last season. Goaltender Ben Bishop is skating again but the club remains uncertain if he’ll be available for the coming season. He missed all of 2020-21 recovering from knee surgery.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW‘s Adrian Dater tweeted Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz has returned to full health and is anxious to resume his NHL career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lower-body injury sidelined Francouz for the entirety of last season.
TORONTO SUN: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nathan Gerbe will be sidelined four-to-six months following hip surgery.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild unveiled their jerseys for the 2022 NHL Winter Classic at Target Field on New Year’s Day when they face off against the St. Louis Blues.
#Rangers have signed D Libor Hajek
1 year / 2-way contract
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) September 4, 2021