NY Islanders 2023-24 Player Report Card: Sebastian Aho Exhibited His Versatility

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders
Washington Capitals v New York Islanders / Rich Graessle/GettyImages

Known as a defensive team as displayed by back-to-back Conference/ Semi-Finals appearances, the NY Islanders' defensive corps struggled to stay healthy this season. One player who stepped in along the blue line when needed was Sebastian Aho. A player without much allure, Aho showed his versatility allowing the Islanders to operate without frequent call-ups from Bridgeport.

NY Islanders 2023-24 Report Card: Sebastian Aho

The Islanders blue line found itself short-handed from the first game of the season when Scott Mayfield suffered an ankle injury after blocking a shot in the season opener against the Buffalo Sabres. Injuries to Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulcok, and Robert Bortuzzo found the Islanders plugging holes nearly all season.

Coming into the season, Aho found himself as the team's sixth defenseman, but the addition of Mike Reilly saw him reduced to the odd-man out when the team was at full health - which they rarely were. Whether it was an injury to the left or right side, Aho was the player called upon to fill in, showing his versatility to play on his strong and off-side.

Aho appeared in 58 games this season, scoring twice and adding nine assists. He found time on the Islanders' second power play unit, which struggled for most of the season.

He has proven himself as a capable NHL defenseman, serving as one of the Islanders' best puck movers along the blue line - combined with being a strong skater. However, his size holds him back and is an area the opposition can exploit.

Hampus Lindholm, Sebastian Aho
Boston Bruins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Now 28 years old, Aho will become a free agent on July 1st, possibly marking the end of his tenure on Long Island.

"It's tough to say right now," said Aho regarding returning to the Islanders. "I've always enjoyed being here and I enjoy the group of guys we have here. Everyone within the organization, they've always taken care of me and my family. I would absolutely be open to coming back, but I'm going to have to just step away from hockey for a little bit and kind of figure it out by myself and with my family."

The Islanders would be best off having Aho serve as a seventh defenseman - but with Samuel Bolduc being six years younger and under contract for another season, Aho may be looking for more consistent playing time elsewhere.

Grade: B-