Montreal Canadiens: Watch Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s Playoff Highlight Reel

May 14, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Jesperi Kotkaniemi Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
May 14, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Jesperi Kotkaniemi Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes infamously battled each other with a couple of offer sheets sent either way in the past few years.

We all know the story by now. The Canadiens tried to steal star centre Sebastien Aho away from the Hurricanes with an offer sheet that was heavily front-loaded and bonus-laden.

The Hurricanes wisely elected to match and keep Aho on their roster, and then went out of their way to try to humiliate Habs general manager Marc Bergevin by saying it was the easiest decision ever and they should have made it a little more difficult if they actually wanted the player. All this really did was suggest to their own star player that he signed at below market value, but they did choose to keep him.

Then, a year later they signed Jesperi Kotkaniemi to a one-year offer sheet with a cap hit just over $6 million. They then childishly went out their way to sent out tweets in French about it, and again tried to mock the Habs and their general manager in the process.

The Canadiens chose to take the first and third round picks as compensation for letting Kotkaniemi head to Carolina under his new contract. The Hurricanes had secured a five goal and 20 points player for $6 million.

Kotkaniemi would score 29 points in 66 games for the Hurricanes this season, which was apparently enough to convince them to sign him to an eight-year contract extension with a cap hit just south of $5 million.

He was known as a playoff performer when he signed the offer sheet, and he did have eight whole points in 19 playoff games for the Canadiens in their 2021 run to the Stanley Cup Final. The Hurricanes 2022 postseason run ended after two rounds this season, so let’s take a quick look back at Kotkaniemi’s highlight reel.


There are zero highlights from the first round seven game series against the Boston Bruins.


There really aren’t any from the second round series either. He did collect a couple of assists, but calling them “highlights” is a big stretch. Oh well, since there is nothing else, we may as well watch those.

Kotkaniemi’s first point of the playoffs was an assist in overtime of Game 1 of the second round. He makes a wobbly pass across the blue line to Brendan Smith who has to wait a few seconds for it to arrive. He shoots when it does but the puck is blocked in front by a Ranger.

Ian Cole then grabs the loose puck, cuts away from the Rangers net, turns, fires a wrist shot that tips off Rangers defenceman Ryan Lindgren in front, and the puck ends up in the back of the net. So, two Rangers touched the puck after Kotkaniemi, but he was still credited with a second assist.

Kotkaniemi’s second point of the playoffs came basically after the Hurricanes were eliminated. It was Game 7 with less than four minutes to play and the Rangers were leading 5-1. Kotkaniemi tossed a wrist shot towards the Rangers goal that was blocked in front. Former Habs forward Max Domi cruised through the slot and fired the rebound into the back of the net for his fourth Game 7 point of the postseason.

The Hurricanes would lose that game 6-2. Kotkaniemi finished the playoffs with goals and two points in 14 games played. You can’t blame it all on him of course, but the Hurricanes had to be expecting more from a player they just committed to for eight more years.

I mean, Ian Cole had more goals than Kotkaniemi. Brendan Smith had more playoff points. Curtis Lazar had more playoff goals and no one has heard of him since he ate a hamburger off the ice ten years ago. The Rangers goalie had as many points.

Shane Wright had as many NHL playoff goals this spring and he hasn’t even been drafted yet.

Anyway, there is your check-in on former Habs forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s playoff run. Tomorrow, we will look at how Turner Stevenson has performed in the 2022 NHL Playoffs. Spoiler alert: he scored as many goals as Kotkaniemi.

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