Despite his young age, Jesperi Kotkaniemi already has an impressive playoff background. Having suffered several failures near the finish line, the main interested party is even more motivated by the desire to achieve his goal.
Kotkaniemi and the Carolina Hurricanes were swept by the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Finals, even though all four games in the series were decided by one goal.
The Montreal Canadiens’ third overall pick in 2018 has three goals and seven points in 15 games.
In National Hockey League history, only 11 players have played in more playoff games than Kotkaniemi (58) before age 23.
“My only goal is to win, dropped the Finnish center during the Canes end-of-season report on Friday. I have already seen everything. I lost in the first round, in the second round and in the Stanley Cup final. I’m fed up and I want to win the big trophy.”
After a slow start to the regular season, Kotkaniemi found his momentum and set career highs in goals (18) and points (43). He still thinks he has work to do before finding a balance between his production and his defensive responsibilities.
“It was a rough start production-wise,” he admitted. I was trying to be a good player on both sides of the rink. I think I’m starting to understand what it takes to be good defensively while still appearing on the scoresheet.”
Kotkaniemi will spend the second year of the eight-year, $38.56 million pact he signed in 2022 in 2023-2024. With no more pressure to prove his worth or make his place in the team, he will have the more peace of mind when he improves certain technical elements during the offseason.
“You are always nervous when you arrive in a new locker room. This year, it was easier to play and have fun. I want to improve some elements that are useful for the playoffs. I want to get stronger, improve my skating and my efficiency in the face-off circle.
#Jen #marre #Jesperi #Kotkaniemi