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jesperi kotkaniemi | #82

C | 6' 2" | 201 lb | Age: 21 | Carolina Hurricanes
  • Born: July 6, 2000

  • Birthplace: Pori, FIN

  • Shoots: Left

  • Draft: 2018 MTL, 1st rd, 3rd pk (3rd overall)


Jesperi Kotkaniemi was selected by the Montreal Canadiens with the No. 3 pick of the 2018 NHL Draft after spending his developmental seasons with Assat in his hometown of Pori, Finland.

He helped Finland finish second at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, then returned to the 2018 U-18s, scored nine points (three goals, six assists) in seven games to help Finland win the tournament.

Kotkaniemi started the 2018-19 season with the Canadiens, and he became the first player born in the year 2000 to play in the NHL when he made his debut in the League on Oct. 3. He had an assist in 15:03 of time in Montreal's 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He finished the season with 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 79 games.

He had an up and down 2019-20, scoring eight points (six goals, two assists) in 36 games while also playing for Laval of the American Hockey League. But he stepped up his game during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, tying for the Montreal lead with four goals in 10 games.

Kotkaniemi also came up big for the Canadiens during their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2021, scoring eight points (five goals, three assists) in 19 games, including an overtime goal against the Maple Leafs in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup First Round.

A restricted free agent after the 2020-21 season, Kotkaniemi signed a one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet with the Carolina Hurricanes on Aug. 28, and the Canadiens opted not to match it. It's the first time a restricted free agent switched teams on an offer sheet since Dustin Penner signed with the Edmonton Oilers on July 26, 2007.


  • Signed as a free agent by Carolina, September 5, 2021.

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