The Carolina Hurricanes are positioned to possibly swipe a talented young player from the Montreal Canadiens and they are having a lot of fun doing it.
The Hurricanes tendered an offer sheet on Saturday to Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi for one year, $6,100,035. Carolina then unleashed an avalanche of hilarious tweets poking fun at Montreal for the precarious position the Canadiens are now in.
If you are not sure what an offer sheet is, that's understandable because they almost never happen. When a player is a restricted free agent, the team still retains his rights, but he is still free to sign a deal with another team. When this happens, it is known as an offer sheet. When a player signs an offer sheet, the original team has a week to match it. If they do, they keep the player at that already pre-negotiated contract. If they do not, the signing team has to give them draft pick compensation as calculated by the league.
We rarely ever see offer sheets because most general managers do not want other teams to do it to them. A rival team could sign a player at a contract the original team may not be able to afford, thus putting them in a position of having to either shed salary or lose a valuable player. A player also has to be willing to sign an offer sheet with another team for this to even happen. Most teams don't let it get that far.
In 2019, Montreal shocked the hockey community with a rare offer sheet for Carolina forward Sebastian Aho. The contract was fairly low and easily affordable to the Hurricanes so they matched the offer and kept Aho. It seems, however, that the Hurricanes did not forget that the Canadiens tried to pull a fast one on them as Saturday's tweets turned hilariously petty.
Carolina also changed their Twitter bio to French and Tweeted out the news in French just to make sure the French-speaking Canadien fans did not miss the news.
In addition, Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell's statement on the offer sheet sounded very...familiar.
And just in case you think this is all getting blown out of proportion, that it is just a shrewd move and had nothing to do with the Aho offer sheet, Carolina offered one further detail to make sure to get the message across.
Kotkaniemi's offer sheet came with a curious signing bonus of $20. Aho, you see, wears the No. 20.
The offer sheet will force Montreal to shed salary in order to keep Kotkaniemi as Frank Seravalli explains so now the Canadiens have a tough choice to make. If they choose not to match the offer sheet, they will receive a first and a third-round draft pick. In one final twist of the knife, Kotkaniemi's $6.1 million cap hit comes in just under the $6.166 million threshold that would have entitled Montreal to a first, second and third-round draft pick.
Carolina's revenge fest is the exact reason general managers do not give offer sheets. They don't want to see other general managers retaliate with deals like this that will be difficult for them to match.
Enjoy the pettiness because this is probably the last offer sheet we are going to see for a very long time.