Canadiens Jesperi Kotkaniemi Underwent Knee Surgery
MEDICAL UPDATE: Jesperi Kotkaniemi underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) April 23, 2019
According to general manager Marc Bergevin, “it was a chronic, minor injury that did not stop him from playing this past season. Jesperi will remain in Montreal for the coming weeks to complete his rehabilitation program with our team’s medical staff. We have been told by our medical group that there should be no delay in starting his off-season training.”
In 79 games with the Canadiens this season, Kotkaniemi scored 11 goals and added 23 assists for 34 points.
This season was the 18-year-olds first in the NHL. Kotkaniemi was selected by the Canadiens third overall in last year’s NHL Entry Draft.
What This Means For The Future
The good news is the injury will not delay Kotkaniemi from starting his off-season training this summer. Kotkaniemi had a decent first season, finishing ninth in rookie scoring. He was also the youngest player in the league this season at only 18 and was the first player born in 2000 to play an NHL regular season game.
Kotkaniemi is the future of the Canadiens. The Canadiens have been looking for a number one centre since fellow Finn Saku Koivu left the team. It looks like they finally have one in Kotkaniemi. Kotkaniemi showed a ton of maturity throughout the season and at times you would even forget he was an 18-year-old rookie. Kotkaniemi plays a strong two-way game and has a very high hockey IQ. He anticipates plays well in the defensive end and quickly starts the transition game. In the offensive end, he showed the ability to find the open lanes and get the puck to his teammates for quality scoring chances. He’s also not afraid to take the puck to the net himself.
Kotkaniemi needs to bulk up a little bit as he took some heavy hits during the season. However, the Finn shook it off every time and got back into the play. His heart and determination are rare to see for such a young player playing against men. He should continue to develop into that top centre the Canadiens have been missing for the past decade.
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