Jesperi Kotkaniemi is now officially a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Saturday that the Montreal will not match Carolina’s $6.1 million offer sheet to the young forward.
“Carolina has used a tool available to them in the collective bargaining agreement and we accept that decision,” Bergevin said in a statement.
The Canadiens had one week to either match the offer or take a pass. Montreal will receive a first- and third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft as compensation.
Kotkaniemi was coming off a three-year, entry-level contract that paid him $925,000 per season and was a restricted free agent.
The offer sheet from Carolina was partially payback for the five-year, $42 million offer sheet Bergevin made to Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho two years ago. Kotkaniemi’s new contract with the Hurricanes includes a $20 signing bonus, which is Aho’s number.
The Canadiens drafted Kotkaniemi third overall in 2018. In 171 games for the franchise, the 21-year-old tallied 22 goals and 40 assists for 62 points.
The native of Finland will likely make his highly anticipated Carolina debut on opening night of the 2021-22 season against the New York Islanders on Oct. 14. The Hurricanes play the Canadiens for the first time on Oct. 21, the first of three meetings between the teams.