Earlier this afternoon the Montreal Canadiens announced that they would NOT be matching the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet. Last week the Carolina Hurricanes signed Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet that would pay him $6.1 million for one year. I wrote a blog trying to make sense of giving Kotkaniemi that type of money. I came to the conclusion that if I were in the Canadien’s shoes I would not match the offer sheet and take the 2022 first-round pick and a third-round pick from the Canes as compensation. After it was announced the Habs would not be matching the offer sheet they immediately turned their attention to acquiring Christian Dvorak from the Arizona Coyotes.
MON/ARIZ are working on a Dvorak deal
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 4, 2021
Much Needed Center Depth
After not matching the Kotkaniemi offer sheet, the Habs have now lost two of their top 3 centers this offseason. Philip Danault signed out in Los Angeles and now Kotkaniemi will be in Carolina. That leaves Nick Suzuki at the top of the depth chart along with Cedric Paquette and Jake Evans. There was a glaring need for a 2nd line center. And Christian Dvorak is a perfect fit for the bill.
So Why Christian Dvorak?
Christian Dvorak has played five years in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes. He is entering this upcoming season at the young age of 25. In 302 career games, Dvorak has scored 67 goals to go along with 79 assists. He has been a 15-plus goal scorer in four of his five seasons and the one season he failed to score 15 goals was back in 2018-19 when he only played 20 games. Dvorak also happens to have four years remaining on his current deal that gives him a $4.45 million AAV. Dvorak makes perfect sense for the Canadiens. He is a young center under contract for the next four years. He is a great two-way top 6 forward, which is exactly what Montreal needs. Plus getting Dvorak at only $4.45 million per season versus giving Kotkaniemi $6.1 million next year is just a way better trade-off.
The return starts with one of the first-round picks that the Habs own in next year’s draft. Montreal has two first-round picks in next year’s draft and they have 12 picks total in the 2022 draft. The other pick is a 2nd round pick in the 2024 NHL draft.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) September 4, 2021
Not matching the offer sheet was the right move for Montreal. Kotkaniemi has not lived up to the hype of a 3rd overall pick and now he is getting paid more than double what he is really worth. Good on the Canadiens for not panicking and making a dumb mistake by matching that offer sheet. Now they got a much better player at a much better price in their quest to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.
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