RALEIGH, NC - Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, today announced the team's intention to match the Montreal Canadiens' offer sheet to forward Sebastian Aho within the timeframe allowed by the League's Collective Bargaining Agreement. By matching the offer sheet, the Hurricanes will re-sign Aho to a five-year, $42.27 million contract. The deal runs through the 2023-24 season and carries an average annual value of $8.454 million.
"This was an easy decision," said Waddell. "Sebastian is one of the best players in the league and the centerpiece of what we're building here. We've spoken to him throughout this process and he's made it clear that he wants to be in Raleigh and be a part of this organization.
"It's our job to manage our cap space as our players develop and hit free agency. There was no concern at any point that we would not be able to match this contract. Once again, the Carolina Hurricanes should not be underestimated. We have a plan and all the resources to win a Stanley Cup."
Aho, 21, registered 83 points (30g, 53a) in 82 games with the Hurricanes in 2018-19. The 6'0", 176-pound center set career highs in goals, assists and points last season, and became just the sixth player in franchise history to record at least 30 goals and 50 assists in the same season. Aho also became the fourth player in franchise history to record 80 points in a season before turning 22 and the seventh player in franchise history to score 30 goals in a season before his 22nd birthday. He averaged more time on ice (20:09) and took more faceoffs (1,204) than any other Carolina forward in 2018-19. In addition to leading the Hurricanes in points during the regular season, Aho led the team in postseason scoring with 12 points (5g, 7a) in 15 games as Carolina advanced to the Eastern Conference Final.
Aho began the 2018-19 regular season with a 12-game point/assist streak from Oct. 4 to Oct. 30 (4g, 13a). His run set franchise records for longest assist streak and longest season-opening point streak and tied the NHL record held by Wayne Gretzky and Kin Linseman for the longest season-opening assist streak. For his efforts, he was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week on Oct. 15. He went on to add five point streaks of four games or longer, and he was held without a point in three straight games just once all season. Aho registered 20 multi-point games in 2018-19, including his second-career hat trick against Nashville on Jan. 13 and four four-point games. He scored a career-high four shorthanded goals last season, which is tied for the second-highest single-season total in franchise history and the most by a Carolina player since 2005-06, when Justin Williams and Eric Staal each scored four.
The Rauma, Finland, native has recorded 197 points (83g, 114a) in 242 career NHL games with the Hurricanes. He has posted the third-most points through three seasons among Finnish-born players in NHL history, trailing only Jari Kurri and Teemu Selanne. Aho has represented his home country at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 IIHF World Championships, the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and the 2015 and 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships. He won gold with Finland at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship and silver at the 2016 IIHF World Championship. Aho was selected by the Hurricanes in the second round, 35th overall, of the 2015 NHL Draft.