Nick Suzuki gives thoughts on Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet: 'It’s tough'

Montreal Canadiens' Nick Suzuki (14), Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) and Cole Caufield (22) look on from the bench during practice in Brossard, Que., south of Montreal, Sunday, June 27, 2021, ahead of departure to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in game one of the Stanley Cup final on Monday June 28. (Graham Hughes/CP)

TORONTO — Nick Suzuki was enjoying a family dinner at the golf course when his younger brother Ryan delivered the bombshell of the NHL off-season.

Suzuki’s close friend and fellow emerging star on the Montreal Canadiens, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, had put pen to pad on a one-year, $6.1-million offer sheet with the Carolina Hurricanes.

“That’s when you kinda know the NHL is strictly business and things happen. It's unfortunate that we lose KK, but we’re in a good spot with [Christian] Dvorak,” Suzuki told Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek Monday during a taping of 31 Thoughts: The Podcast.

Suzuki, 22, estimates that he speaks with Kotkaniemi, 21, every other day. The two pals were in contact during that angst-filled week as GM Marc Bergevin debated whether to match his young centreman’s generous offer — and opted instead to fill the gap by trading for Dvorak.

“It's tough because he’s a great friend of mine, obviously. But it is part of the business. I got to learn that pretty quickly when I got traded from Vegas,” said Suzuki, who wondered how Kotkaniemi might have been received had Bergevin matched Carolina’s millions.

"I think it would’ve been fine. He’s a very likable guy. Very well-liked in the dressing room."

Suzuki himself is set to become a restricted free agent (and offer sheet eligible) in the summer of 2022.

Listen to Suzuki’s full interview on an upcoming episode of 31 Thoughts: The Podcast.

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