Habs loan Jesperi Kotkaniemi to Finnish club before NHL season starts
Montreal Canadiens centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) leaps to try to deflect a shot in front of Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart (79) during third period NHL Eastern Conference Stanley Cup first round playoff action in Toronto, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
MONTREAL -- Young Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi will get a chance to continue his development before the start of the next NHL season.
The team has lent their up-and-coming centre to HC Assat Pori Oy of the Finnish Liiga for the start of the 2020-2021 season. Kotkaniemi will return to Montreal in time for training camp.
Kotkaniemi, 20, had eight points (6-2-8) in 36 games in 2019-20, his second season with the Canadiens in the NHL.
The native of Pori, Finland also registered 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) in 13 games with the Laval Rocket in the American League. He also added four goals in 10 playoff games with the Canadiens this summer in Toronto's bubble, in addition to leading the team's forwards with 36 hits.
In his career in the NHL thus far, Kotkaniemi has 17 goals and 25 assists in 115 games.
He played in 57 games with the Assat club in 2017-2018, where he amassed 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists).
-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2020.