With opening night exactly one month away, hockey is inching closer and closer to Raleigh.
As Carolina prepares to open up training camp along with 31 other teams, NHL.com is unveiling their top 50 players in the league. Researchers, producers, and on-air personalities participated in the voting, with No. 50 to 41 unveiled on Sunday.
Hurricanes star forward Sebastian Aho is the first Carolina player to appear on the list, coming in at No. 44. Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes came one spot before Aho at No. 45 and Senators forward Brady Tkachuk takes No. 43 overall.
Aho is heading into his eighth season in Raleigh after leading the Hurricanes in goals for the sixth consecutive year. The 26-year old netted 36 goals and recorded 31 assists in 76 regular season contests, finishing second in points behind Martin Necas.
He once again showcased his stardom in the postseason, tallying 12 points in 15 games, as Carolina reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
Aho elevated himself to alternate captain status ahead of the 2021-2022 season and was a main piece in the Hurricanes snapping their 11-year playoff drought. After helping Carolina reach the postseason in 2018, he has done nothing short of impress.
He is tied for third in playoff games played (63) in a Hurricanes sweater, and has been the team’s best performer, scoring a franchise-high 23 goals and amassing 58 points.
In 2020, Aho found himself at No. 29 on the NHL’s top 50 following a 78-point campaign during the COVID-shortened season.
With an eight-year, $78 million extension signed this offseason, it is likely that Aho will continue to find himself on this list in a Carolina uniform.
Compiling a list of the NHL’s best and comparing positions with different responsibilities is no easy task, but it is evident that Aho deserves his spot on this list.
He is likely to not be the last Hurricane on the list as the top-40 NHL players are revealed.