The NHL needs more offer sheets

jesperi kotkaniemi

Yesterday was an exciting day around the league. The Carolina Hurricanes signed Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet of one year at $6.1 million, with a $20 signing bonus. Montreal has no cap space to work with at all, and it puts them in a difficult situation. This was 100% a petty move made by Carolina as retaliation for Montreal offer sheeting Sebastian Aho last season. After all, the press releases were exactly the same.

This is very clearly retaliation, and it is incredibly entertaining retaliation at that. The $20 signing bonus (Aho’s number), the release statements, everything about this. It is pure entertainment.  Carolina’s strategy is a bit odd, since Kotkaniemi wasn’t really a team need. But hey, retaliation is retaliation. But this isn’t about whether or not it makes sense.

For the first time in a month, we have NHL news that doesn’t revolve around the Jack Eichel saga in Buffalo. The NHL is in the news again. If anything, this shows that the NHL needs more offer sheets. It breeds retaliation, and if this move is a sign of things to come, then ill thought retaliation. Quite honestly, Carolina should have waited for Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield to be RFAs.

We now have seven days of waiting to see what Montreal will do. Will they match, and then adjust the roster to get under the cap? Will they take the 1st and 3rd round pick as compensation? Plus there’s the drama about what Carolina will do to shed $2 million to get under the cap if they get Kotkaniemi.

The strategy going forward is pretty simple actually. If you’re going to offer sheet someone, then strike first for the better player. After that, wait for retaliation for a worse player. It’s the same strategy as on the ice. The retaliation penalty is always a dumb penalty. The retaliation offer sheet is, at least in this case, not necessarily dumb but not the smartest move.

Either way, the NHL needs more offer sheets. If only for the entertainment factor.