It’s finally happened. The mythical “offer sheet” has appeared in the form of the Montreal Canadiens tabling a five-year contract offer to Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes.
The offer sheet is for $42.27 million. The actual salary breakdown is more or less $700,000 or so per season, with the bulk of the money coming in the form of potential signing bonuses.
The signing bonuses will be the more difficult part of this contract offer for the Hurricanes to match, as there is some serious cash on the table.
This is a bold, bold move for Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, who is potentially setting the stage for offer sheets to come.
If the Hurricanes do not match the offer sheet, the Canadiens will have to put up one first-round pick, one second-round pick and one third-round pick. Luckily, on Sunday Bergevin and the Habs traded Andrew Shaw back to the Chicago Blackhawks for a basketful of picks.
The Hurricanes now have one week to match the offer sheet from the Canadiens.
Carolina parted ways with RFAs Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm after not having enough cash to keep them locked in, but Aho is a franchise centre and you have to think majority owner Tom Dundon and general manager Don Waddell will be desperate to keep him around.
The issue comes back to those signing bonuses, which means the Hurricanes will have to reach deep into their coffers to match Montreal’s offering. On the same token, there’s a sense that the Habs’ offer sheet isn’t so high as to set the market out of range for Carolina. There’s also frustration that the offer sheet may be so low as to upset the proverbial apple cart, thus setting market value for other RFAs like Mitch Marner at a much more “reasonable” level.
The last time the NHL has seen an offer sheet was six years ago, while the last time one went unmatched was in 2007 when Dustin Penner flew to Kevin Lowe and the Edmonton Oilers.
(Lead photo credit: NHL)