Stu Cowan: Kotkaniemi looks back on ‘good memories’ with Canadiens

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“I’m really grateful that they drafted me and gave me a chance,” Hurricanes winger says of time in Montreal.

Author of the article:

Stu Cowan  •  Montreal Gazette

Carolina Hurricanes’ Jesperi Kotkaniemi skates the puck away from Nashville Predators’ Yakov Trenin during the second period in Raleigh, N.C., on Oct. 5, 2021. Photo by Karl B DeBlaker /AP Article content

Jesperi Kotkaniemi is 21 years old and will earn US$74,390 when he plays his first game against the Canadiens Thursday night at the Bell Centre as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.

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So don’t expect boos from some angry Montreal fans to bother him.

Canadiens fans really shouldn’t boo Kotkaniemi, but you know they will. It’s a long tradition in Montreal when former Canadiens players return home in a different uniform, whether they wanted to leave or not.

Just ask P.K. Subban.

Kotkaniemi was obviously upset after the Canadiens made him a healthy scratch for the last two games of the Stanley Cup final last season. The Hurricanes saw an opportunity to get a young player they coveted who was a restricted free agent and presented Kotkaniemi with a one-year offer sheet worth US$6.1 million. There was also some revenge after Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin tried to acquire Hurricanes centre Sebastian Aho…

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Stu Cowan

Stu Cowan

Montreal Gazette

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Sports columnist at The Montreal Gazette and regular panelist on the HI/O Show talking about the Canadiens on https://t.co/nRs2lGxz7n. scowan@postmedia.com

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