Canadiens’ Jesperi Kotkaniemi undergoes knee surgery, expected to be ready for training camp

Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi underwent knee surgery Tuesday, the team announced. He’s expected to be ready for training camp.

Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin described the injury as “minor” in a press release.

“It was a chronic, minor injury that did not stop him from playing this past season,” Bergevin said. “Jesperi will remain in Montreal for the coming weeks to complete his rehabilitation program with our team’s medical staff. We have been told by our medical group that there should be no delay in starting his offseason training.”

The Canadiens selected Kotkaniemi with the third pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and he became an immediate contributor.  

The 18-year-old scored 11 goals and tallied 23 assists in 79 games for Montreal in 2018-19. He finished the season ninth amongst NHL rookies in points.

The Canadiens finished 2018-19 with a 44-30-8 record and missed the playoffs for a second straight season.

“A little bit disappointed,” Kotkaniemi told The Athletic about the season. “It didn’t go the way we wanted. I think we had a pretty good group of guys going in here and we didn’t make the playoffs, so it’s pretty sad. We were close.”