As the Montreal Canadiens look to both retool and refuel this offseason, general manager Marc Bergevin has presented an offer sheet to Carolina Hurricanes star centreman Sebastian Aho. After agreeing to sign the offer sheet, the Hurricanes have seven days to match the offer or accept compensation in return from Montreal.
According to an announcement from the Montreal Canadiens organization, the proposed contract is for five years with an average annual value of $8.454 million. As per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.ca, the offer sheet, which contains a salary of $42.27 million over five years, contains the maximum amount of signing bonus allowable while Aho will be owed more than $21 million in the first calendar year. This would be later confirmed by TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie.
In addition to that, Carolina now has a week to decide if it will match the offer sheet presented to Aho. If not, the compensation is a first, second and third round pick in 2020. Should Aho end up accepting the offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens, his actual salary, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.ca, will be between $700K-$750K per season while the rest is paid off in bonuses. As Johnston initially reported, it would be approximately $21 million in the first 12 months.
In a statement from general manager Don Waddell with regards to Montreal’s proposed offer sheet, he said, “Aho is our best player and we want to keep him longterm. If you go back in time I think every offer sheet but one was matched.”
When speaking about the requirements and the league restrictions that come with offer sheets, Waddell said he does not know if they’ll use all seven days to match the offer sheet as signing right away allows the other team to sign more players. In a brief statement with that being said, Waddell said about the offer sheet in closing, “Maybe I don’t want to help them out right now.”
In a statement from general manager Marc Bergevin with regards to the proposed offer sheet to Aho, he said, “He wants to be here in Montreal. He agreed to this.”
When asked about making the offer from a greater standpoint of the organization, he said, “You take a risk when you do that, guys are getting signed. When you have that cap space tied up, you can’t go out and spend it, because then you get the player and you’re in a bad position. That’s the risk you take. That’s the business we’re in. We felt, even if it doesn’t happen, we still have a very good hockey team.”
In speaking of the proposed offer sheet in greater lengths with the Montreal media, Bergevin would then close in saying, “This shows to our fans that Geoff Molson and ownership want a good hockey team. We want to win. That’s the risk we’re taking. That’s the business we’re in.”
According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic Toronto, the breakdown of Aho’s offer sheet is as displayed in the chart below:
Year 1: $11.3M SB plus 700k salary
Year 2: $9.87M SB plus 700k salary
Year 3: $6.95 SB plus 750k salary
Year 4: $5.25 SB plus $750k salary
Year 5: $5.25 SB plus $750k salary
Earlier in the day, Pierre LeBrun had been informed that Carolina got calls from three different teams on Sebastian Aho, all of which were hinting at an offer sheet. Carolina not only told them they would entertain trade conversation, but that they would match any proposed offer sheet. It was believed at the time as well that Montreal was among the three teams who called.
David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period soon followed, noting that Montreal was eerily quiet and that there was a lot of chatter (repeat, chatter) regarding their heavy pursuit of Sebastian Aho. A short time later, he would add on that the Canadiens had significant interest in Aho while mentioning that there was talk of Montreal trying to make it come to fruition.
A short time before 3:00pmET, Eric Engels of Sportsnet.ca was able to confirm that an offer sheet had been presented to Aho who signed the deal, agreeing to the terms laid out by the Montreal Canadiens organization. CapFriendly then followed in mentioning the seven-day policy laid out by Chris Johnston while also noting that if the Hurricanes choose to match Montreal’s offer, that they are restricted from trading Aho for up to one year.
In closing, it would then be confirmed that Sebastian Aho had indeed signed the submitted offer sheet, meaning that Aho’s next contract will be as reported with just the team that it comes from in question.