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Jesperi Kotkaniemi officially loaned to Ässät in Liiga

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Marc Bergevin says the priority is for him to play.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Montreal Canadiens at Philadelphia Flyers Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi will be loaned to his old club in Liiga, Ässät Marc Bergevin confirmed on Thursday. The official announcement was made on Friday.

The deal will not affect his season in North America and he will be released for Canadiens training camp, whenever that is to get underway. Finnish clubs have agreed to allow short term loans (while their counterpart in Sweden, the SHL has decided not to).

The club is currently residing in the top half of Finland’s top division, but would look to improve on the standing with the Canadiens centre.

The extended period of downtime before the NHL bubble playoffs, meant that Kotkaniemi had time to recover from a spleen injury as well as build up muscle. With the uncertainty of the start of the next NHL season this is the best solution for the Finnish centre to continue to develop.

Kotkaniemi is the fifth member of the Canadiens to be loaned as everyone awaits the start of the North American season.