The offer sheet to Aho, who had 30 goals and 83 points last season, is the first in the National Hockey League since 2013 when the Calgary Flames tried to pry then-Avalanche centre Ryan O'Reilly out of Colorado, which matched the deal. Waddell, meeting with the media at 3 p.m., said the team received word of the offer sheet just 20 minutes earlier.
Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho drives to the net on Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz and center Evgeni Malkin before scoring his first of two third-period goals at PPG PAINTS Arena.
The Vancouver Canucks addressed a need on their blue line by signing Tyler Myers - a member of the Jets since 2015 - to a five-year, $30-million contract.
"Sebastian Aho accepted our offer", Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement.
Bergevin refused to admit there's an unspoken law between general managers to avoid tendering offer sheets to restricted free agents, especially when structured in a way to take advantage of a cash-strapped team.
The Canadiens' offer sheet is heavily front-loaded, with signing bonuses worth $11.3 million this summer and $9.8 million next summer, according to The Hockey News. "I'm responsible for the Montreal Canadiens and not other teams". The six-player swap also included winger Connor Brown going to the Senators in deal that helps salary cap-squeezed Toronto clear more space as it endeavours to sign star Marner.
Aho's actual salary will be between $700K-$750K per season.
The Carolina Hurricanes entered the 2018-2019 season with the NHL's longest playoff drought. An offer sheet worth more than $10,568,589 per season would return compensation of four first-round draft picks.
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When asked if Aho could turn the Canadiens into a Stanley Cup contender, Bergevin said: "I would say with him in the lineup, I'm going to go out on a limb here: He'll make our team better". If the Hurricanes can afford the first year, it would make sense to match and then look to trade Aho next summer when they'd surely get much more than three draft picks in exchange. "Or at least give yourself the ability to make a well-rounded decision and not a defensive one".
This year, there was also renewed interest in offer sheets during free agency, where teams can try to pry away another team's restricted free agents by signing them to an offer sheet.
"He has the potential to be a No. 1 centre on this team", said Bergevin. "There's been a lot of chatter over the a year ago or so that these are coming or whatnot".
The offer sheet for Aho forces Carolina - who rarely spend up to the NHL's salary cap - into a tough position.
Dubas, who was hired by the Maple Leafs as assistant GM in 2014, said he wasn't caught completely off guard by the Aho offer sheet.
The Canadiens were rumoured to be after 28-year-old winger Anders Lee, who signed a seven-year, $49-million extension to remain with the New York Islanders.
"In a flawless world I'd like to", Bergevin said.