The Carolina Hurricanes said Tuesday that they will fit the Montreal Canadiens’ five-year, $42.27 million offer sheet to centre Sebastian Aho.
The free agent signed the offer tendered by Montreal on Monday, giving Carolina to make a decision. They needed just one.
“This was an easy choice,” said Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell at a statement. “Sebastian is among the greatest players in the league and also the centerpiece of what we’re building here. We’ve spoken during this process to him and he’s made it crystal clear he wants to be in Raleigh and become a part of the organization.
“It is our job to handle our cap area as our players grow and hit free agency. There was no concern at any stage that we would be unable to match this contract. The Carolina Hurricanes should not be underestimated. We’ve got a strategy and all the resources to win a Stanley Cup.”
The price carries an average yearly value of $8.454 million and runs through the 2023-24 season. It features a documented $21.87 million in signing bonuses for Aho, a Finland native.
Aho tallied 83 points (30 goals, 53 assists) in 82 games last season, setting career highs across the board and becoming the sixth player in franchise history with 30 goals and 50 assists in a season.
The Canadiens would have sent first-, second- and – third-round picks in the 2020 draft to the Hurricanes as compensation if they hadn’t matched the deal.
That was not going to happen, Carolina proprietor Tom Dundon told The News and Observer.
“We’re surprised. The player is loved by us and we are happy to have this done. And amazed someone would have believed this would work,” Dundon said. “We’re never going to let him go. He didn’t wish to go. This is part of the business of getting the deal done. I said the day that I bought the group and nothing has changed, he is one of if not the most important part of our future and we’re lucky to have him”
–Field Level Media