No regrets. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell on Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet and an ‘unbelievably slow start’

The Athletic

Jesperi Kotkaniemi is playing his best hockey of the season as of late, just in time for a visit Thursday from his old Montreal Canadiens pals.

A switch back to his natural centre position in mid-November was a key moment in the 21-year-old finding another gear.

Which, well, needed finding. 

“It was an unbelievably slow start for him, for multiple reasons,” Hurricanes GM Don Waddell began Wednesday in a phone interview with The Athletic. 

“One reason is that we play a different system probably than where he was, everybody plays differently, we try to play fast. He likes to slow the play down. It’s just his style he’s had his whole career. So I think there was a big adjustment.”

Another reason, according to Waddell, was starting the season on the wing.

“He was just really out of position,” Waddell said. “I think the adjustment for that was bigger than we all thought it would be.”

The move back to centre for a Nov. 17 game in Vegas, which our ‘Canes beat writer Sara Civian noted in her post-gamer, has proven to be a game-changer for him.

#hockey, #nhl

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