Sebastian Aho had his five-year, $42.27 million offer sheet matched by the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
The 21-year-old forward was a restricted free agent and was tendered the offer sheet, which had an average annual value of $8.454 million, by the Montreal Canadiens on July 1. By matching it, Carolina has Aho under contract at an AAV of $8.454 million through the 2023-24 season but will not be able to trade him for one year.
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"I am grateful for the offer from the Montreal Canadiens, but it was always my hope to return to the Hurricanes," Aho said."As a restricted free agent I had limited options for moving along the process to get a deal done. It was always important to me to be on the ice for the first day of training camp. This entire situation has been difficult for me and my family and I am happy it is at an end.
"We have a young and exciting group in Carolina and I can't wait to be there with my teammates and get to work. I love it in Raleigh and I am thrilled that we can continue what we started last season."
Video: CAR@BOS: Aho scores second goal on breakaway
The Hurricanes had seven days to match or they would have received a first-round pick, second-round pick and third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft as compensation from the Canadiens. They announced Tuesday their intent to match the offer sheet, with general manager Don Waddell calling it "an easy decision."
"There was no consideration to any other choice but him playing for the Hurricanes," owner Tom Dundon said Tuesday.
Aho led the Hurricanes with an NHL career-high 83 points (30 goals, 53 assists) in 82 regular-season games last season and 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping Carolina advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
Selected by the Hurricanes in the second round (No. 35) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Aho has 197 points (83 goals, 114 assists) in 242 games.
"In tendering an offer sheet to Sebastian Aho on July 1, our objective was to add a talented young forward entering the prime of his career," Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said Monday. "With Carolina matching our offer, we wish Sebastian and the Hurricanes all the best."