Montreal Canadiens Place Jesperi Kotkaniemi on Injured Reserve

Jesperi Kotkaniemi
MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 03: Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) looks towards New York Islanders defenceman Nick Leddy (2) to avoid a collision during the New York Islanders versus the Montreal Canadiens game on December 03, 2019, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Montreal Canadiens placed forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi on injured reserve on Wednesday. Kotkaniemi sustained a concussion after a scary hit from Colorado Avalanche defenceman Nikita Zadorov. The IR designation will hold Kotkaniemi out for at least another week.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi Headed to IR

Kotkaniemi has been blatantly ice cold this season. In his last 14 games before injury, he managed a measly two points, both of which were scored in the same game. On the season, Kotkaniemi only has five points in 22 games. This is a far cry from his rookie year performance, where he tallied a modest 34 points in 79 games. While his numbers don’t jump off the charts, they’ve done enough to add a noticeable boost to the Canadiens offence.

In the wake of Kotkaniemi’s injury, the Canadiens recalled Ryan Poehling and Christian Folin from the Laval Rockets of the AHL. Poehling will likely slot into a very similar role that Kotkaniemi held. This wouldn’t come as unwarranted, as Poehling has spent time in the NHL club already this season. After netting a hat trick in his sole NHL game last year, the club awarded him with four more at the start of this year. When he went scoreless through those four, though, Montreal sent Poehling to the AHL. In the minors, he’s netted 12 points in 26 games so far; five goals and seven assists. This has been good enough to tie him for fifth on the team in scoring, alongside Charles Hudon and Otto Leskinen.

The boost to the NHL club will come with a fair amount of responsibility for Poehling. While Kotkaniemi only averaged roughly 12-and-a-half minutes a game, he held big shoes in the Canadiens lineup. Many fans saw him as the promising star, capable of being the offence’s catalyst any given night. Poehling should have the skill to accomplish this all-the-same and will get a chance to prove that to the Canadiens front office while Kotkaniemi recovers from his injury.

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