The Carolina Hurricanes have two young emerging superstars on their hands with Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov. The only question is which one is the face of the franchise?
When you look around the league every team has its star players. In Pittsburgh, there’s Crosby and Malkin, in Edmonton McDavid and Draisaitl, Backstrom and Ovechkin in Washington, Toews, and Kane in Chicago, the list goes on.
While these teams all have elite players, there always is one guy that just gets a little more attention the rest, one guy that’s the face of the franchise. So the question is this, who is the face of the Carolina Hurricanes?
Over the years it was guys like Rod Brind’amour, Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner but, now, who gets that attention? Who is the one guy who stands out on the roster? The guy that fans from other teams look at and say when I think of the Hurricanes I always think of blank?
On paper two names are quick to jump out, Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov. Stars already at 22 and 20 years of age, the pair is no doubt vitality important to the team’s success both in the present and long term. Clearly the Canes’ version of Crosby and Malkin, the question remains which one is their Crosby and which is their Malkin?
Drafted back in 2015, Aho has been a fan favorite and key piece to the franchise’s success ever since he stepped foot on NHL ice. Starting out on the wing, he has slowly transitioned into Carolina’s number one center and top point-getter. Becoming more and more reliable on the defensive side of the puck, Aho has the potential to be a franchise player.
Typically players in Carolina fly under the radar a bit but lately that hasn’t been the case. In the headlines ever since Tom Dundon took over, the whole Aho offer sheet situation in Montreal briefly gained the attention of the league, with someone “experts” wondering if the Canes would be willing to match.
On record saying that “he has a man-crush on Seabass,” it is clear that Dundon viewed Aho as an irreplaceable piece to the franchise. He would quickly shot down any speculation about Sebastian’s future when he matched the deal without blinking an eye.
Aside from that situation, Aho has been slowly becoming a house hold name to the more casual fan. Appearing the NHL All-Star Game for the first time last year as well as one of the main marketing faces for NHL Europe’s social accounts, he’s begun to represent the Canes off ice rather frequently.
Svechnikov, on the other hand, is just in his sophomore campaign in the NHL. As the top forward prospect available for the 2018 NHL draft, it was widely known around the league that Andrei was going to be an elite player in the NHL. Luckily for Carolina, they won the lottery for the second overall pick and was able to call his name at the draft.
Ever since that day, it seems as if he has been the go-to guy when it comes to the marketing side of the Canes. At the draft party, Svech shirts and jerseys were readily available for fans to purchase, and posters were given out to those in attendance. A move that clearly illustrated the front office’s desire to make sure fans were ready for their next big super star.
Producing at almost a point per game pace already this season, Svech could not just possibly have a higher offensive upside than Aho, but have the potential to be one of the highest-scoring forwards in franchise history.
Taking the league by storm with his signature lacrosse goal this season, he has already caused opposing teams to adjust their play in the defensive zone when he is on the ice. Widely gaining national attention for being the first player to successfully pull off the move not once but twice in the NHL, his name may be more a bit is commonly known than Aho because of this.
So to answer the question of who is the face of the Carolina Hurricanes right now…
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Although a solid case can be made for either player, having a few more seasons under his belt, Aho may be that guy for Canes fans right now. We’ve gotten the chance to know him a bit more while experiencing the highs and lows of a full 82 game season.
We’ve seen him come over from Finland and bring with him the promise of hope at a time where the future of the organization was a bit uncertain.
On the flip side, more casual fans or fans of other teams may say that Svechnikov is that guy just because of the amount of attention he gets through the media and marketing outlets. Andrei clearly has a wealth of skill and potential to could become one of the best forwards the franchise has ever seen.
With that in mind, it is highly possible that he’ll surpass Aho in the near future as the face of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Either way, the Canes are in good hands with their version of Toews and Kane. Neither player is going to be going anywhere anytime soon. With this duo at the helm, the Stanley Cup is bound to make a return to Raleigh very soon.
Question for CC readers: Who do you think is the face of the Carolina Hurricanes?