Can New York Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho play more or less than half a season in the NHL during the 2018-19 NHL season?
With a blueline decimated with injury, the New York Islanders had to call on players from the AHL to fill in the gaps last season. With Calvin de Haan and Johnny Boychuk missing significant time, the Isles needed some warm bodies to play some minutes.
They called on 2017 fifth-round draft pick defenseman Sebastian Aho. Aho took the opportunity that was given to him and ran with it. Proving to the Islanders that he can play at the NHL level, even if he’s only 5’10” and 170lbs.
In today’s game speed and decision making means more than size and brawn. The latter two still matter in a physical game like hockey, but when things happen so quickly on the ice the fleet of foot and fleet of mind typically excel.
So, considering how Aho impressed in 2017-18, does that mean we can expect Sebastian Aho to get significant playing time with the New York Islanders in 2018-19?
No. The answer is no. We set the over-under on the number of appearances in 2018-19 at 41, half an NHL season. There’s no way that Sebastian Aho gets 41 games in 2018-19.
There’s at least one other defenseman above him on the depth chart and that’s Devon Toews. As it stands neither of them has a guaranteed roster spot. If either is going to be added it’s going to be Devon Toews, not Aho.
After dominating the AHL in both seasons he was there, Devon Toews is ready for the NHL. With that two year “show me” deal he just signed, there’s no sense to keep Toews in the AHL. What could he possibly prove there?
Sebastian Aho is going to play the 2018-19 season in the AHL. If and when an injury happens he will be the first name called up. Considering he played 22 games in 2017-18 with the number and severity of the injuries to the New York Islanders blue line last season it would have to be one heck of an injury bug to get him over 41 games.
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I like Sebastian Aho, but not over Devon Toews. I think Aho’s turn will eventually come, but it won’t be in 2018-19. He’ll play less than half a season, guaranteed.