The Hurricanes off-season goal was to add scoring. One big part of that plan was counting on 19-year old rookie Sebastian Aho. Aho was a second round pick by Carolina Hurricanes in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. At his best, Aho is a two-way forward who is a good skater, with great hands and a very high IQ. Carolina didn’t deem the 18-year old draftee ready for the NHL and he spent the year in Finland tallying 45 points in 45 games.
Player Profile: Sebastian Aho
The talent is not a question, but as a teenager Aho stands at 5’11” and 172 pounds which is a less than ideal NHL fram. The young Finn tallied an assist in each of his first two NHL games. He seemed to fit the part, averaging a point-per-game over his first five. There is no expectations for Aho to finish the year averaging a point-per-game, but it appeared he was ready to contribute at the NHL level.
All of a sudden, Aho went ice cold and was held off the score sheet in seven straight games. He was getting scoring chances but his pass-first mentality was too tentative and he was not playing with any aggression. Questions began to emerge if he was physically mature enough to play an 82 game NHL season.
Prior to a game vs the Washington Capitals, coach Bill Peters decided to juggle the lines. Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen were the wings on a line centered by Jordan Staal. The switch immediately payed dividends and tallied an impressive 11 points in a convincing win over the Capitals who lead the Eastern Conference in points just a year ago. Two of those points were the first two goals in the career of Sebastian Aho.
With his first goal under his belt, Aho along with his new linemates, appears to be playing a more confident game. It seems Aho has found his groove and that seven-game scoreless streak won’t be seen again.
Along with Aho, the Hurricanes as a whole seem to be finding their groove. The team is on a two-game win streak besting Washington and the San Jose Sharks, who are two of the leagues best teams on paper. On Friday, Carolina will host the Montreal Canadiens and their league-leading 28 points. This is a great opportunity to build some confidence, take advantage of home ice, and climb back up into a respectable spot in the standings.
He may be just 19 years old, but Sebastian Aho is a very important part of this team. His individual success will be indicative of where this team ends up at the end of the season. Aho needs to put on some weight in muscle in the off-season as well. But until then, he has to be ready to help his team move on up.