Canadiens add centre Dvorak after not matching Hurricanes' offer for Kotkaniemi

Forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi is now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, but the Canadiens were quick to announce a potential replacement.

The team finally put an end to the suspense around 5:15 p.m. on Saturday.

The Hurricanes had presented a hostile offer of US $6.1 million for one season to Kotkaniemi, a week ago. The Habs had seven days to announce whether or not they would match the offer.

The Habs received first and third-round picks in 2022 from the Hurricanes as compensation for Kotkaniemi.

"The Hurricanes took advantage of a tool offered by the collective bargaining agreement and we accept that decision,'' Habs general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement.

The 21-year-old Finn, the third player claimed in the 2018 draft, had five goals and 15 assists in 56 games with the Habs last season, his third with the team.

He added five goals and three assists in 19 playoff games, helping the Tricolore make their way to the Stanley Cup Final. However, he was left out of the lineup at the beginning and end of the playoffs.

In his career, Kotkaniemi scored 22 goals and 40 assists in 171 NHL games. He had his best season in his rookie campaign with 34 points in 79 games.

Recall that in 2019, the Habs had made an offer of some $42 million for five years to forward Sebastian Aho. The Hurricanes had quickly announced their intention to match the offer.

"Jesperi Kotkaniemi is a player who has been on our radar since before his draft year," Hurricanes president and general manager Don Waddell said in a statement.

"We believe he will flourish in (coach) Rod Brind'Amour's system and culture, and he will be an important piece of what we are building in Carolina for years to come."


In the hour following Kotkaniemi's departure, the Canadiens announced the arrival of forward Christian Dvorak to help replace their young centre.

Montreal acquired the 25-year-old American from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a conditional 2022 first-round pick and a 2024 second-round pick.

Dvorak has 67 goals and 79 assists in 302 regular season games over five NHL seasons, all with the Coyotes. He had 17 goals and 14 assists in 56 games last season.

--This report was first published in French by The Canadian Press on Sept. 4. 


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