Don’t think Sebastian Aho is on his way to Montreal just yet.
The Hurricanes have seven days to match the five-year, $42.27 million offer sheet. The contract pays Aho $21 million in the first year, but Carolina doesn’t seem too frightened by it. General manager Don Waddell addressed the offer sheet in a press conference and said, “I’m actually surprised it wasn’t more.”
Waddell did not give a timetable on when the team will announce its decision but made it apparent the team has every intention of keeping Aho.
“We look at Sebastian as our best player and we certainly want to keep him long term,” he said. “I know my summer just got better because I know I’m not going to spend all summer negotiating a contract now. We’ll make a decision and move on.”
NHL free agency tracker 2019: Full list of signings, best available players
Shortly after the news conference, the Hurricanes tweeted and pinned this particularly one-sided poll:
Just over an hour after the poll was tweeted, the Canadiens’ social media team seemed to still be confident the franchise could acquire Aho. Either Montreal’s staff didn’t realize the Hurricanes planned to match the offer sheet, or they believed Carolina was bluffing.
Aho’s contract will have a cap hit of $8.454 million, and after signing netminder Petr Mrazek to a two-year deal with an AAV of $3.125 million, the Hurricanes have $19,573,334 in projected cap space. Their challenge is ensuring they can fill out the rest of their roster the way they would like around Aho. If they do let him leave, they would receive the Canadiens’ first three picks in next year’s draft.
The 21-year-old led the Canes with 83 points (30-53-83) and a plus-25 rating last season. He posted 12 points (5-7-12) in 15 playoff games.
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