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Hurricanes' Gardiner to land on LTIR after back, hip surgery

Gregg Forwerck / National Hockey League / Getty

Those wondering how the Carolina Hurricanes planned to fit newcomer Jesperi Kotkaniemi under the salary cap now have an answer.

The Hurricanes will place defenseman Jake Gardiner on long-term injured reserve when he undergoes multiple procedures, thereby clearing space for Kotkaniemi's $6,100,015 cap hit before the season begins.

"We won't be in a (tight) cap situation," Carolina general manager Don Waddell said Sunday. "Gardiner, who's going to have back and hip surgery here, is not going to be ready to go this year. So we had cap space available knowing that he'll go on (LTIR)."

Gardiner was limited to 26 games and averaged a career-low 16:03 of ice time last season due to his injuries. He's played for the Hurricanes for the last two campaigns after spending his first eight with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 31-year-old is under contract through 2022-23 at a $4.05-million cap hit, according to CapFriendly.

Carolina officially acquired Kotkaniemi on Saturday when the Montreal Canadiens elected not to match the Hurricanes' offer sheet. That move temporarily put them over the cap, a position they're allowed to be in until opening night.

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