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Hurricanes sign Sebastian Aho to an 8-year contract extension worth $78 million

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes

Apr 25, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders during the third period in game five of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Sebastian Aho signed an eight-year contract extension worth $78 million with the Carolina Hurricanes, the team announced Wednesday.

The deal will go into effect for the 2024-25 NHL season. Aho will count $9.75 million against the salary cap from that point through 2032.

Aho gets a raise from the nearly $8.5 million he was making as Carolina’s top center and most important all-around forward. He’ll remain — at least for now — the highest-paid player on the roster.

“Sebastian has developed into one of the best two-way centers in hockey,” general manager Don Waddell said. “He’s a tremendous leader on and off the ice who sets a great example for our younger players. We’re grateful that he’s decided to stay in Carolina for the foreseeable future.”

The 26-year-old Finn has 468 points in 520 career regular-season games all with Carolina. He’s also nearly a point-a-game player in the playoffs with 58 in 63.

The Hurricanes have made the playoffs in each of the past five seasons and are again a contender to win the Stanley Cup.

After entering the offseason with roughly $24 million in cap space, Carolina has been busy retooling its lineup around the edges of a strong core, which included bringing back key pieces.

The Hurricanes re-signed goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta, captain Jordan Staal and winger Jesper Fast and they made a free-agency splash with a two-year deal for defenseman Dmitry Orlov and a three-year deal for forward Michael Bunting. Earlier this week, they brought back defenseman Tony DeAngelo after trading him to Philadelphia at the 2022 draft.