After a rookie season that saw him put up 49 points in 82 games, Sebastian Aho has elevated his game during his sophomore season to superstar forward level.
Aho is currently on pace for 66 points during his second NHL season at the ripe age of twenty years old. Impressive stuff from a player that many don’t pay attention to, and probably haven’t since he entered the league.
Let’s face it, if you weren’t a Toronto Maple Leafs player in 2016-2017 then no one talked about you – especially a rookie.
This year, though, people should be talking. Aho is a superstar.
He currently leads the Hurricanes in 5v5 points-per-60 and primary 5v5 points-per-60 and is 11th in the entire NHL in P/60 out of 142 forwards who have played at least 500 minutes at 5v5 this year. That’s incredible. We’re talking about a 20 year old over a half-season period of time being the 11th best scoring forward in the NHL at 5-on-5. In a more high profile market, this kid is blowing up in the news.
Save for powerplay contributions, Aho is outperforming fellow 2015 draft members Brock Boeser (23rd overall), Mathew Barzal (16th overall) and Miko Rantanen (10th overall), all of whom get more press. It's true, look it up. If the 2015 draft was re-done, Aho is a lock as a top-half of the 1st round pick.
There is room for improvement, though, with the aforementioned powerplay being one area. Aho is a mediocre 3.5 P/60 on the powerplay – a number that is significantly low for a player that has so much success at even strength. That has contributing factors like linemates to impact it, but it’s still a production area Aho needs to be better in and one he will be over time.
Another area for development is his defensive game. His 3.06 relCA/60 at 5v5 is nothing to tell mother about but, again, he’s 20 and the curve is still well underway for his career. On a team with little to no expectations like Carolina, this isn't so much a glaring issue unless you look for it.
In the end, what the Hurricanes have in Aho is a superstar forward they can include in their core as they move forward with a pretty solid group of young players. It would be wise to lock him up long-term prior to getting too deep into the final season of his contract to reduce the cost.
Here are a few more quick hits on Aho before you go.
- 51.79% goals for percentage
- Nearly even on possession with a relCF% of -0.19%. It’s not ideal, but he’s not hurting anyone as he travels the learning curve of the NHL.
- He's probably better than most teams 20 year old forwards, in or out of the NHL.
My question to you is what does Aho's next contract look like if you were the GM?