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Sebastian Aho’s Contract Situation and the Hurricanes Dilemma

Sebastian Aho is going to be getting a significant raise at the end of next season. What will the Carolina Hurricanes do, sign or trade him?

Sebastian Aho, the talented forward for the Carolina Hurricanes, is entering the last year of his deal, earning $8.46 million. It feels like just yesterday that the Montreal Canadiens made their offer sheet, which ultimately led to the Hurricanes matching the offer and his current contract. Now, while a valuable part of the Canes’ sometimes limited offensive attack, there is still uncertainty surrounding his future.

As expected, Aho wasn’t at all happy about the way the season ended in Carolina. He’s competitive and he acknowledged that the pain of losing (especially in four straight) is real. He also noted that it can serve as motivation. He commented, “It still stings, a lot. It’ll stay with us for a long time. But we can also use it as a fuel for the future.” He added, “The good thing is that we’re going to be a good team for a really long time. We just have to keep giving ourselves a chance to get there.”

That all sounds great, but questions will linger about how the Hurricanes will approach the negotiations of his next deal. When asked about it, he noted, “I like to be here. We’ll see, but I haven’t thought about it at all yet. I can probably give you a better answer a little later.” Meanwhile, Elliotte Friedman said on the 32 Thoughts podcast that the Hurricanes’ tendency is not to overpay players. Will they make an exception? Friedman notes, “I have to think when it comes to Aho and Staal, there will be room to bend a little bit more because they are such huge parts of the team.” He adds, “Staal, he’s not a signing that’s going to break the bank, but Aho will be”.

Is A Trade More Likely If Things Don’t Trend Well?

Aho is confident that Carolina will remain a formidable team for years to come, so perhaps he’s open to considering a team-friendly deal. If not, it’s natural to wonder if he might follow the path of players like Matthew Tkachuk. Teams can’t let their big-name stars head into the final year of their deal with a cloud hanging over the season. More often than not, franchises look at trading the player if there’s any doubt of losing them for nothing.

Sebastian Aho Carolina Hurricanes
Sebastian Aho Carolina Hurricanes

If early signs are that he’s far apart on terms of a new deal, might the Hurricanes feel as though a trade is the better play? Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin recently shared his opinion that the team needed to trade for a superstar “no matter the cost”. He doesn’t mention Aho by name, but one wonders how far the team will go if they need to find an elite scorer.

Are the Hurricanes better off breaking their own internal rules to keep Aho around? Aho’s next contract is expected to be significant. What is the better move for the Hurricanes if he’s looking at north of $9 million per season on a long-term contract? His career best is 83 points and he’s had one other season near it with 81 points in 2021/22. Is that enough to warrant giving him the monster contract he might want?

Next: Maple Leafs’ Best Playoff Player? Nylander, Matthews or Marner

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