Montreal Canadiens Jesperi Kotkaniemi Out For Season with Spleen Injury

Jesperi Kotkaniemi
MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 18: Look on Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) at warm-up before the Las Vegas Golden Knights versus the Montreal Canadiens game on January 18, 2020, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Montreal Canadiens announced that forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi is sidelined for for the rest of the season with a spleen injury.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi Out for Season

The 19-year-old Finn was injured while playing for the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket, against the Cleveland Monsters. He took the hit from 31-year-old bruiser Brett Gallant that caused the injury. Kotkaniemi spent the night in the hospital before being released.

So far this season, Kotkaniemi has scored six goals and two assists for eight points in 36 games this season with the Habs. He also has 23 penalty minutes in 2019-20. His possession numbers are 53.6 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -3.6.

Over his two-year NHL career, the Pori, Finald native has played for the Montreal Canadiens. He has 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 career points in 115 career games. Montreal originally drafted him in the first round, third overall of the 2018 NHL Draft.

Kotkaniemi missed a big chunk of time after suffering a concussion by Colorado Avalanche defenceman Nikita Zadorov. That hit had the young centre miss 22 days worth of time. He also started the season with a nagging groin injury.

He was a key part of the gold-medal winning Finnish squad that won the 2018 IIHF Under-18 Hockey Championships in Russia. Kotkaniemi had three goals and six assists for nine points in seven games for the Finns. He also won a silver in the 2017 U-18 tournament in Slovakia.

What This Means for the Future

The former third overall pick was demoted to Laval in order to gain back some confidence. He took the demotion in stride as he had a goal and 12 assists in 12 games with the Rocket.

Laval was in the midst of the AHL playoff race with 15 games to go and benefited from having Kotkaniemi in the lineup. The Habs hope he can bounce back from those injuries and find the form he had in his rookie season.

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