Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho will be a Restricted Free Agent Come July 1st. Here is what his new contract will possibly look like.
With the off-season upon us and Free Agency Looming quickly the Carolina Hurricanes have one of their most important signings to take care of before conducting any other actions to improve the team after being swept by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals. I am, of course, talking about signing Super Star Sebastian Aho.
Many wondered if Don Waddell was going to wait until the summer to talk about Aho’s contract, after all he took care of his countryman winger Teuvo Teravainen during the All-Star break along with Instagram Personality, Jordan Martinook. So why did he wait til the off-season to discuss the contract with Aho’s agent and put the Caniac’s hearts at ease?
Waddell has shown that he is a master of timing. His trade for Nino Neiderreiter came when the winger was at his best price. There are still those of us stunned by how that trade came down. He managed to sell away Adam Fox to the Rangers for the price of two second round draft picks. This is a player who could have walked away for free never having played for the Carolina Hurricanes.
So when it came down to when to discuss Aho’s contract, is it really a surprise that he waited to a time where everyone could get the best deal for them and leave the table happy? After all this is the single most important player on the roster. No need to rush.
August and September are still a ways away. So it will be a while before we get the details of Sebastian Aho’s shiny new contract. How much will he get? How many years? What would be the cap hit? So many questions that would probably dictate how the Carolina Hurricanes approach the rest of the off-season.
First off, Waddell has the Cap space and the time to negotiate a long term deal. Sebastian Aho, even at 21 years of age, has no interest in going anywhere else right now. So I would not be surprised if he signs for seven or eight years. It makes sense for both parties and would be a huge sigh of relief for the team and the fans who expect to see the Finnish Star continue to shine.
The only thing that might hold such a deal back would be the agent, who might not allow Aho to sign such a long term deal without the Money to back it up. Of course Waddell has the time to approach this since the Qualifying offer is only $874,125 that would keep Aho as a Restricted Free Agent while they work on it during the Summer.
So what about the value? How much money would Aho get per year at seven or eight years? There have been values thrown out as low as $6 Million and as high as $11 million. Who are the comparables that can help balance out the value and allow Waddell and Aho’s Agent to come to an agreement?
One of the most commonly cited comparable player is Evengy Kuznetsov who signed an eight year contract with the Washington Capitals only three years ago. That contract had an AAV of $7.8 Million. That included a Modified NTC in years 3-8.
But Kuznetsov in 2016 was not Aho in 2019. With about ten more goals and six more total points, that deal might just be the starting point, but any agent would ask for more, especially for a longer term like seven or eight years. Of course Waddell could tack on signing bonuses similar to what Kuznetsov received (between $2-$5 Million per year) but it simply wont be enough.
Most likely the AAV would be raised to $8.5-$9 Million with a Modified NTC in each of the eight years. Signing bonuses would be valued around $3-$5 Million per year and each party would go home happy. Waddell wants to keep the Cap hit for Sebastian Aho at or below $9 Million to open the door to more Free Agent Signings and keeping this team on track for the right price.
With Scott Darling’s looming buyout there should be more than enough Cap space to keep the Carolina Hurricanes a Stanley Cup Contender for years to come. But it all starts with ensuring that Sebastian Aho and his growing stardom stays a member of the Carolina Hurricanes for as long as possible.
Question For CC Readers: How much do you think Sebastian Aho will sign for?