Hurricanes’ deadline day includes Domi trade, 8-year extension for Kotkaniemi

Like most of the other Eastern Conference contenders the Carolina Hurricanes made a fairly significant addition before Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline, adding forward Max Domi from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a three-team trade that also involved the Florida Panthers.

The entire deal breaks down as follows:

Carolina gets: Max Domi (from Columbus), Tyler Inamoto (from Florida)
Columbus gets: Aiden Hreschuk (from Carolina)
Florida gets: Egor Koshkov (from Carolina), 2022 sixth-round pick (from Columbus)

Hreschuk, a defenseman, was drafted by the Hurricanes in the third round, No. 94 overall, in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He spent this past season playing college hockey at Boston College.

The purpose of getting a third team involved was to retain more salary, allowing the Hurricanes to add Domi for cheap and remain under the salary cap. Florida gets a pick and a prospect for its trouble.

This is another fresh start for Domi on a new team as he joins his fourth different organization over the past five seasons. In theory he brings some added scoring depth to an already deep, talented lineup. While he has not really blossomed into a consistent top-line scorer (he has averaged a 14-goal, 40-point pace per 82 games the past two seasons) he is a good playmaker that can help create offense off the rush. That should fit well with Carolina’s style of play.

For the Blue Jackets, it was all about getting something for a pending free agent that was probably not going to be re-signed. Columbus has had a solid season and still has a pretty bright future with some of its young talent, but it is not yet a playoff team and Domi did not figure to be a part of the next playoff team in Columbus. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said on Monday that any bigger moves the team might have to make are more offseason type moves than deadline deals.

Kotkaniemi’s eight-year deal is official

Carolina’s other big move on Monday was to officially announce the long-term contract for Jesperi Kotkaniemi. It is an eight-year deal that will pay him a total of $38.56 million. That comes out to a salary cap number of $4.82 million per season.

The Hurricanes added Kotkaniemi this offseason by signing him to a restricted free agent offer sheet for one year and $6 million. The Montreal Canadiens declined to match that offer, allowing Kotkaniemi to join the Hurricanes in exchange for  first-and third-round draft picks.

Kotkaniemi has been solid for Carolina, showing strong two-way play and driving possession but still not quite breaking out offensively. He has 11 goals and 23 total points in 59 games this season. Giving a player with that production an eight-year contract is a bit of a bold move.

On one hand, if Kotkaniemi’s offensive reaches another level at some point (and he is still only 21 years old and he is playing on a great team; so it could) the Hurricanes will have a steal of a contract given his all-around game. If his offense remains at this level the salary cap hit is still not terribly damaging to the team’s cap structure, but the eight-year term would be a bit much. Either way, the Hurricanes clearly see him as a key part of their long-term future along with Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho, Teuvu Teravainen, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, and Brady Skjei.

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