July 2, 2019 | 12:24pm ET



Sebastian Aho, centre


The Carolina Hurricanes are planning to match the five-year, $42.27 million offer sheet star centre Sebastian Aho signed with the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, the team announced.

Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon first confirmed the team’s decision to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer prior to the team’s official announcement, which came at 12:20pm ET.

“We’re surprised. We love the player and we’re happy to have this done. And surprised someone would have thought this would work,” Dundon told the paper.

“We were never going to let him go. He didn’t want to go. This is just part of the business of getting the deal done. I said the day I bought the team and nothing has changed, he’s one of if not the most important part of our future and we’re lucky to have him.”

Aho, 21, will now take home an annual salary cap hit of $8.454 million on his new deal.

As part of the contract, $38.62 million of his $42.27 million deal comes in the form of bonuses, with $21.87 million, total, is due within the first year of the deal. As TFP Editor-in-Chief David Pagnotta reported earlier, the decision may not have been as simple as the team’s making it sound, but the club knew it was coming.

An $11.3 million bonus will be paid out within five days of the Hurricanes officially signing and matching the deal.

“This was an easy decision,” said Hurricanes GM Don Waddell. “Sebastian is one of the best players in the league and the centerpiece of what we’re building here. We’ve spoken to him throughout this process and he’s made it clear that he wants to be in Raleigh and be a part of this organization.

“It’s our job to manage our cap space as our players develop and hit free agency. There was no concern at any point that we would not be able to match this contract. Once again, the Carolina Hurricanes should not be underestimated. We have a plan and all the resources to win a Stanley Cup.”

The Hurricanes originally pitched Aho an eight-year contract worth $7.5 million per season, but Aho’s camp countered with a five-year offer worth $9.5 million annually. Montreal’s offer effectively meets in the middle, but on a five-year term.

Dundon was hoping to get Aho locked into a longer deal, but is pleased with how things ended up.

In 82 games with the Hurricanes this past season, Aho registered 30 goals and 53 assists for 83 points.