Sunday, July 7, 2019

Sebastian Aho Jersey Card

It's now official: the Carolina Hurricanes have matched the Montréal Canadiens' offer sheet, ensuring Sebastian Aho's rights remain in Carolina for up to five more years, at an average of $8.45M per.

It is widely believed that the front-loaded deal was a no-brainer for the Canes to match because the compensation (a first-rounder, a second-rounder and a third-rounder next season) was almost inevitably going to land the team lesser players and that the team valued the cost certainty of securing their young superstar's services until the youngest possible age at which he would be able to become an unrestricted free agent (the major caveat for them in the deal, the other one being that Aho will be making $21M of the total $42.27M in less than a year, because most of it is structured as signing bonuses).

Had the Habs offered between $1000 more and an extra million and a half per, the compensation would have been two first-rounders, a second and a third - which may have given the Canes more of a reason to reflect on that.

Aho himself was a second-round pick (35th overall) from a strong 2015 draft class that has already produced these NHL players: Connor McDavid (the best player in the sport, 1st), Jack Eichel (the Buffalo Sabres' cornerstone, for better or worse, 2nd), Dylan Strome (3rd), Mitch Marner (this summer's prized RFA, 4th), Noah Hanifin (5th), Pavel Zacha (6th), Ivan Provorov (7th), Zach Weresnki (8th), Timo Meier (9th), Mikko Rantanen (10th, one-third of the best line in hockey last year), Lawson Crouse (11th), Jake DeBrusk (14th), Mathew Barzal (16th), Kyle Connor (17th),  Thomas Chabot (18th and already Erik Karlsson's replacement with the Ottawa Senators),  Evgeny Svechnikov (19th), Joel Eriksson Ek (20th), Colin White (21st), Ilya Samsonov (22nd, star KHL goalie), Brock Boeser (23rd), Travis Konecny (24th), promising defenseman Noah Juulsen (26th), Anthony Beauvillier (28th), Christian Fischer (32nd), Brandon Carlo (37th), Daniel Sprong (46th), Roope Hintz (49th), Jordan Greenaway (50th), Rasmus Andersson (53rd), Vince Dunn (56th), Anthony Cirelli (72nd), goaltending prospect Samuel Montembeault (77th), Austin Wagner (99th), Denis Malgin (148th), Christian Wolanin (107th), Dominik Simon (137th), Christian Jaros (139th), and Markus Nutivaara (189th).

I like Aho's progression, from a 49-point rookie to a 65-point sophomore to a 30-goal, 83-point third-year player at 21 years of age, showing he just got better as he garnered more attention from the opposing team's best checkers. I'd rather have an $8.5M Aho than a $10M+ Marner on my cap for sure.

Here he is wearing the Canes' plain red uniform, on card #GJ-SA from Upper Deck's 2018-19 Series 1 set and UD Game Jersey sub-set (sorry for the cropped scan, the actual card is roughly three millimetres longer at the bottom):

It features a white game-used jersey swatch.

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