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Hurricanes, C Sebastian Aho agree to terms on an eight-year, $78M contract extension

Carolina has signed its top-line center to a deal worth $9.75 million annually.

Sebastian Aho #20 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates during the first period against the Florida Panthers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at FLA Live Arena on May 24, 2023 in Sunrise, Florida. Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

Carolina Hurricanes C Sebastian Aho agreed to terms on an eight-year, $78 million contract extension on Wednesday morning. The contract carries an average annual value of $9.75 million. Aho is entering the final year of his contract worth $8.46 million, a five-year extension he had signed back in 2019 under GM Don Waddell.

Aho signed the contract on his 26th birthday on Wednesday. At that age, Aho has already done so much in his NHL career, including two major contracts. Aho is coming off a bit of a down season by his standards as one of the top two-way centers in the NHL. He scored 36 goals to lead the Hurricanes but finished with 67 points in 75 games. Aho had finished with 81 in 79 games in 2021-22. Over seven season in the NHL, Aho has 468 points in 520 games.

The Hurricanes lost to the Florida Panthers this past season in the Eastern Conference Final. Carolina has made the postseason in five straight seasons and has lost in the ECF twice in that span. The Hurricanes have been very successful under coach Rod Brind’Amour and the idea is to keep this core together, centered around Aho. The Hurricanes have captain Jordan Staal, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Michael Bunting signed long-term. The rest of the roster is only signed for the next two seasons or so.

This Aho extension was always going to happen and doesn’t affect the Hurricanes’ cap situation at all. It’s a raise of around $1.29 million on the cap. This also shouldn’t affect the Hurricanes’ pursuit of D Erik Karlsson via trade with the San Jose Sharks. It’s been a slow process but Karlsson wants to play for a contender and the Hurricanes have been reportedly interested this offseason. Carolina has just under $1M in cap space, so clearly salary will be required in any deal for Karlsson.

That deal could center around players like Teuvo Teravainen, Martin Necas and/or Seth Jarvis, all three needing new contracts soon. Necas and Jarvis you would think the Hurricanes would want to hold onto. At the same time, those two are Carolina’s top assets in a deal. Brett Pesce or Brady Skjei would also likely go back to San Jose in that deal to clear a spot on the blue line.