Opinion: Sebastian Aho is the Only Winner in the Offer Sheet Situation

Earlier today, the Carolina Hurricanes officially matched the offer sheet submitted by the Montreal Canadiens on centre Sebastian Aho. Now that the dust has settled, we can take a look at which team comes away as the true winner. In my opinion, neither team came away as real winners.
It's quite clear the Canadiens are not the winners in this situation. Submitting an offer sheet to a player, only for it to be matched, coming away with nothing but a worsened relationship with another team's general manager.

Carolina general manager Don Waddell went on saying he was happy that the Aho situation was done, so he could enjoy his summer, and was seemingly thanking Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin for doing the heavy lifting. I think most people were able to distinguish that this was a bit exaggerated, and likely not his true feelings on the matter.

Analysts were reporting a few hours before Aho signed the offer sheet that the two teams were at an impasse. Aho wanted 9.5 million dollars for five years, whereas Carolina was only offering 7.5 million dollars for eight years. The Canadiens met Aho somewhere in the middle, at 8.48 million dollars, but left the term at five years. The Hurricanes were unwilling to budge on the eight year term, but the Canadiens had no problem with it. What the Hurricanes are left with is a player making a load of money (20+ million in the first 12 months of the contract) on a team with worse financial stability than most, who will be able to become a UFA at the age of 26. Moreover, they now see that Aho had no problem leaving the team to find a bigger payday, which likely planted a seed of doubt in the GM's head regarding Aho's loyalty to the Hurricanes. I truly doubt that GM Don Waddell is as happy about this signing as he says.

Aho, and his agent Gerry Johannson come away as the only clear winner. Not only did Aho get a deal with a massive sum of money up-front, but will be able to cash in again at the prime of Aho's career in just five years. Should Aho continue producing at the pace his did this past season, the Finnish centre would have no problem getting 10+ million dollars in 2024. Unless Aho suffers a series of bad injuries over the next five years of his career, I can't see any reason on how Aho lost on this contract.


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