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About Last Season: Sebastian Aho Performance Review and Grade

The young gun has grown into the top line center and franchise centerpiece that Carolina has needed for years. He pieced together an exceptional season, but he’s capable of even more.

Jamie Kellner

Sebastian Aho: 2018-2019 By The Numbers

  • Age: 21
  • NHL Seasons: 3
  • Games Played: 82
  • Scoring: 30 goals, 53 assists, 83 points
  • Ice Time: 20:09 all situations, 16:02 ES, 3:00 PP, 1:07 PK
  • 5 on 5 Stats: 56.45% CF, 62.38% GF
  • Contract: Restricted Free Agent

Making the Grade

Competitive NHL teams are built on high end forwards, and Sebastian Aho’s play this year shows that he’s a cornerstone. He has become the Hurricanes’ most impactful forward and will be for the foreseeable future barring a major change to the group. The 21-year-old continues to outperform expectations — this year he did so by making a seamless transition from an elite winger to a bonafide top line center.

Likely concerned about his two-way game and offensive production, Rod Brind’Amour was initially hesitant in moving Aho to the center of the ice. An odd Victor Rask injury forced the new head coach to address a lack of depth up the middle. A full season later, we now have very little doubt about Aho’s ability to be a top line center.

And he was treated as such. Coming off of a 2017-18 campaign in which he averaged 17:11 time on ice per game played, Aho jumped to 20:11 TOI/GP, which led the forward group in Carolina and checked in at 23rd highest among NHL forwards. His offensive game wasn’t impacted by the elevated responsibility of the Center position. He led the team in power play time on ice and was even relied on to kill penalties with his linemate Teuvo Teravainen.

Aho finished the season with 83 points (30g, 53a), reaching the 30 goal mark for the first time in his three year career. That’s an incredible way to finish out your entry-level contract campaign. Aho and his representation will be in conversation with the franchise this summer as they try to iron out the details of his first significant contract. The team will be looking for term, Aho will be looking for both term and a high dollar figure.

He didn’t miss a single game this season, and he’s only missed four games in his entire NHL career (they all came after taking a big hit from Mark Giordano last season and sustaining a concussion). He’s an incredibly resilient forward — that much was on display down the stretch this season and into the playoffs when he was seemingly playing through some kind of injury.

Sebastian Aho is an elite NHL forward, and he’s coming off of a point per game season at the age of 21. But he’s capable of even more. That was made clear by the head coach at this season’s breakdown day.

“He’s got to be able to play against the other team’s best,” Brind’Amour said. “He has to be able to play against Bergeron. Be mentally tougher and harder to play against.”

Aho had an incredible breakout season as a top line center. He’s going to get paid this summer — probably north of $8 million AAV. He’s worth every penny. But there’s always room for improvement, and Sebastian Aho has given every indication that his best days are ahead of him.

Exit Interview


How do you grade Sebastian Aho’s 2018-19 season?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    A - Outstanding performance
    (394 votes)
  • 21%
    B - Above average performance
    (109 votes)
  • 0%
    C -Average performance
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    D - Below average performance
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F - Significantly below average performance
    (2 votes)
507 votes total Vote Now