Sebastian Aho is hoping to sign a long-term contract with the Carolina Hurricanes, and general manager Don Waddell is confident that will happen before the end of the season, The News & Observer reported.
The 21-year-old forward is in the final season of his three-year, entry-level contract and can become a restricted free agent July 1.
"Yeah, for sure, definitely," Aho told the newspaper Monday when asked about re-signing with the Hurricanes. "I like it here. I love living here."
Waddell said contract talks are ongoing with Gerry Johannson, Aho's agent.
"We've had lots of discussions and everything has been positive," Waddell said. "We both have the same goal, and that is we want to sign him to a long-term deal and he wants to be here long term. That's always the starting point, which is always good."
Waddell would not discuss any potential terms but said the sides are not far apart.
"The amount of money we're talking, there's not a crazy difference … so you try to find a middle ground." Waddell said.
Aho leads the Hurricanes and is seventh in the NHL with 17 points (four goals, 13 assists). He has at least one point in each of Carolina's 12 games. Aho extended his season-opening point streak with an assist in a 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, passing Ron Francis to set a Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers record for the longest point streak to open a season. Francis had at least one point in 11 straight for the Whalers in 1984-85.
He also matched Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers, 1982-83) and Ken Linseman (Bruins, 1985-86) as the only NHL players with at least one assist in each of his team's first 12 games.
Selected by the Hurricanes in the second round (No. 35) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Aho has 131 points (57 goals, 74 assists) in 172 games.