Hurricanes acquire Max Domi, sign Jesperi Kotkaniemi to 8-year extension

A quiet trade deadline day got some late noise when Carolina dealt for the Blue Jackets winger and inked their young center to a long-term deal

The Hurricanes acquired forward Max Domi from Columbus just minutes before Monday's NHL trade deadline. (Paul Vernon / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — When word leaked at 2:56 p.m. that Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s long-rumored eight-year contract extension had been signed, it looked like that would be the news Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell would share on NHL trade deadline day.

“Do you want to always go down to two minutes to 3?” Waddell said. “No, it adds more stress to your life. But that’s just the way a lot of these deals happen.”

So just inside the final whistle for trades this season, Waddell and the Hurricanes made a last-minute addition, acquiring forward Max Domi from Columbus in a three-team trade that also included Florida to get Domi’s $5.3 million cap hit under the salary cap.

“We’ve been looking for somebody to complement our forward group into our top nine and felt that this was a perfect fit for us,” Waddell said.

The Blue Jackets retained half of Domi’s salary, and the main piece heading to Columbus is Aidan Hreshuck, the Boston College defenseman who was selected 94th overall in last summer’s draft by the Hurricanes. But in order to stay under the salary cap, the Panthers were also involved in the trade. Carolina also received defensive prospect Tyler Inamoto from Florida while sending Egor Korshkov to the Panthers. Florida also received Toronto’s 2022 sixth-round pick from Columbus and retained 25% of Domi’s contract. Carolina will be responsible for $1.325 million of Domi’s cap hit.

Korshkov, a 2016 second-round pick of the Maple Leafs who Carolina acquired last February in the trade that sent Alex Galchenyuk to Toronto. Korshkov had 11 goals and 11 assists in 44 games this past season with the KHL’s Yaroslav Lokomotiv.

The 27-year-old Domi, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, is now with his fourth team. The son of famed Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi has nine goals and 23 assists in 53 games this season but is mired in a 15-game goal drought.

Domi’s best season came in Montreal in 2018-19 when he had 28 goals and 44 assists for 72 points in 82 games.

“He’s put up a lot of goals and a lot of points,” Waddell said. “I think he’s on a 50-point pace again this year. … He can score, but he’s also a pretty good playmaker, good down low, plays with an edge. There’s some things that we certainly were looking for.”

He was drafted 12th overall by the Coyotes in 2013 and played his first three seasons in Arizona, overlapping with all three former Coyotes on the Hurricanes’ roster: Antti Raanta, Jordan Martinook and Tony DeAngelo.

Waddell said Domi, who has played left wing and center in his career, would probably arrive in Raleigh in time for Tuesday’s game against the Lightning but wouldn’t play. He is expected to practice Wednesday and play Thursday, Waddell added.

The other move was the long-term extension of Kotkaniemi, the 21-year-old who was poached from Montreal with an offer sheet in the offseason and has 11 goals and 12 assists in 59 games this season.

Kotkaniemi agreed to an eight-year deal with an average annual value of $4.82 million — a nod to his No. 82.

“This has been a deal that we’ve been working on for a long time here, since after the first of the year,” Waddell said. “And when you start talking about signing into an extension, anytime you go into these deals when you’re dealing with a 21-year-old player, term, to us, was ultimately the most important thing. We think this player’s got the good upside.”

Waddell said he’s had “small talks” with the team’s other RFA and UFA players but nothing “substantial.”