Canadiens start spending Aho offer sheet money on Chiarot

The Associated Press
FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2017, file photo, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot plays against the Nashville Predators in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Nashville, Tenn. The Canadiens began using the money they won't be paying Sebastian Aho by signing defenseman Ben Chiarot to a $10.5 million, three-year contract. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

Canadiens start spending Aho offer sheet money on Chiarot

FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2017, file photo, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot plays against the Nashville Predators in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Nashville, Tenn. The Canadiens began using the money they won't be paying Sebastian Aho by signing defenseman Ben Chiarot to a $10.5 million, three-year contract. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

MONTREAL (AP) -- The Canadiens began using the money they won't be paying Sebastian Aho by signing defenseman Ben Chiarot to a $10.5 million, three-year contract.

Montreal had signed Aho to a $42.7 million, five-year offer sheet, but Carolina intends to match that contract and keep its best player. The Canadiens can't offer sheet another player until the Hurricanes officially match.

The 28-year-old Chiarot will count $3.5 million against the salary cap in each of the next three seasons. The 6-foot-3, 219-pound left-shooting blue liner had a career-high 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) and 62 penalty minutes in 78 games with the Jets last season.

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The Hamilton, Ontario, native has 64 points (12 goals, 52 assists) in 305 career regular-season games, all with Winnipeg. He has three assists in 24 career playoff games.

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