RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday locked up one of their most important pieces — 21-year old forward Andrei Svechnikov inked an 8-year, $62 million deal. It means the Hurricanes now have the team’s top two players signed through the 2023-24 campaign.

Two years ago, the ‘Canes matched the Montreal Canadiens’ offer sheet to Sebastian Aho, tying up the young center for 5 years at nearly $8.5 million per season.

“I’ve been loving this place for years,” Svechnikov said. “It’s a special place. Like I said, they’ve got a great team, great coaches, and all the guys make the locker room special.”

Svechnikov scored 42 points a year ago (15 goals, 27 assists) in 55 games helping the Hurricanes to a first-place finish in the Central Division (36-12-8).

“Andrei is one of the cornerstones of this organization,” said Carolina General Manager Don Waddell. “We are thrilled to reach a long-term commitment to keep him here.”

Signing Svechnikov to a long-term contract is a big deal for the Hurricanes organization when it comes to perception. Locking up a player with superstar potential shows Carolina can be a place where great players want to play. It also lets the fans know this organization is serious about winning.

“You like to reward our fans. Our fans have been great,” Waddell said. “This is a way we can say thank you for all your support because you’re going to see Andrei in a Hurricanes uniform for a long time.”

A big reason for that is the man behind the bench. Svechnikov said Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour’s presence certainly didn’t hurt in his decision to sign a long-term deal.

“He’s a great coach. He’s a great guy,” Svechnikov said with a smile. “I’m very happy working with him and hopefully we can make it happen (by) winning a few Stanley Cups.”

That’s the plan, and the Hurricanes do appear to be moving more in that direction. A direction that would have been harder to navigate without their up-and-coming young forward.

“It was an easy decision for me,” Svechnikov said. “I want to be a Hurricane.”