Aho amused by Hurricanes' $20 signing bonus for Kotkaniemi: 'It's pretty funny'
"To be honest, it's pretty funny to see a $20 signing bonus," Aho told ESPN's Greg Wyshynski on Thursday. "All jokes aside, we got a pretty good player."
Giving Kotkaniemi a measly $20 was almost certainly a jab at the Montreal Canadiens for offer sheeting Carolina's star center in 2019 - Aho wears No. 20. The Canadiens didn't match the one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet, which relinquished Kotkaniemi to the Hurricanes in exchange for two draft picks.
Carolina's social media team had a frenzy with the ordeal, poking fun at Montreal in several ways. Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon defended the move earlier this month, saying it wasn't done out of revenge.
Aho continued to say the move was good for the game of hockey as the news created a buzz throughout the league, and there may now be a bit of a rivalry between the two clubs when they meet this campaign.
"It got people talking. I think it's going to be a good thing. It's going to be fun playing them next year," the 24-year-old said. "It's part of the business. The social media is so huge these days. You don't have to play a game, and you already have a buzz."
Montreal selected Kotkaniemi with the third overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The 21-year-old played three seasons with the Canadiens, scoring 22 goals and adding 40 assists in 171 games.