Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell acknowledges the significance of matching the five-year, $42.27 million offer sheet the Montreal Canadiens gave restricted free agent center Sebastian Aho.
By not hesitating to commit the finances to keep Aho, arguably their most important player and potential future captain, the Hurricanes and owner Tom Dundon demonstrated to the team, their fans and the rest of the NHL their commitment to maintaining the success they had last season.
"Everybody thinks we're not in a big so-called hockey market, but we're fortunate to have an owner that's been very successful in life and the one thing he recognizes is talent and assets," Waddell said. "We certainly weren't going to let this asset get away from us at this point. We got the offer at 2:40 p.m. on that Monday (July 1) and we knew at 2:42, once we both had a chance to read it, that we were going to match it."
The Hurricanes announced their intention to match the offer sheet July 2 and submitted the paperwork to the NHL on July 7, making it official that Aho, who led the team with an NHL career-high 30 goals and 83 points last season, would stay in Carolina.
Waddell maintains the Canadiens should have known the Hurricanes would match, but he's happy with the end result and believes Aho is, too.