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.