“This is the place I want to play,” Aho told the media Wednesday. “The organization has taken huge steps over the last five year’s and we’re building every year. [Signing] was an easy decision.”
The Hurricanes commitment to the Fin is the largest in franchise history per NHL.com. It is also a clear indication the head coach Rod Brind’Amour and the front office intends to be contenders for years to come, with Aho joining Andrei Svechnikov and Jesperi Kotkaniemi as players locked down until at least 2029.
“It’s nice to have these guys locked up,” Carolina general manager Don Waddell said in his comments to reporters. “You know you have your key pieces in place.”
Aho however is the biggest signing, and has been a key cog in the Hurricanes machine since getting drafted in the second round of the 2015 NHL draft.
His arrival coincided with a turn around in the franchise’s fortunes, and by his third season he led the club in goals as well as back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons.
“Seabass,” as he’s known by Caniacs, already leads the franchise in multiple categories, including playoff goals and points.
Despite Aho’s personal success and the team winning multiple playoff series in four of the last five seasons, the Hurricanes have yet to make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals.
With their star in Raleigh to stay, and Svechnikov returning from a season-ending knee injury, the Hurricanes have the firepower to be a favorite to win the Eastern Conference for many years to come.