Sean Monahan - Proceed with Caution

Kent Wilson
October 11 2013 09:57AM

 

 

Hype is a funny thing.

At first, it's a sort of happy delirium, like a narcotic that smooths the rough edges of reality and suggests a future of boundless optimism and success. When it recedes, however, and the truth is rendered in cruel relief against those impossibly raised expectations, the hang-over can be...unpleasant.

Which brings us to the topic at hand. Sean Monahan has started his NHL career with a bang. Three goals and five points in just four games. He is outscoring much more celebrated offensive talents from his draft season, including Nate MacKinnon, Valery Nichushkin, Aleksandr Barkov and Elias Lindholm. In fact, amongst NHL rookies so far this year, only Tomas Hertl - he of the four goal game - has more points than Calgary's 6th overall pick.

It's been a very long time in Calgary since a forward prospect burst through the doors and established himself as an elite NHLer. The last guy to do it was Jarome Iginla. With him gone and the rebuild in full swing, we're desperate for a new saviour to arrive in Flamestown. Monahan's draft pedigree and his early success have some fashioning hero's garb for the youngster already.

Monahan may actually become that player at some point. But the journey to there from here is a long one with many twists and bumps in the road. His early success is fun and it's encouraging, but it's not necessarily indicative of anything just yet. Like Sven Baertschi's introductory three goal outburst as a 19-year old, Monahan's team leading five points is, at best, a teaser to a much longer film. At worst, it's a run of fortune that will cause Jay Feaster to lament the effect of impossibly raised expectations a year from now. 

Four games is a tiny sample size. And weird things happen in small numbers. Monahan's personal shooting percentage right now is 25%, or about double what you'd expect a competent goal scorer in the NHL to manage. His one-ice SH% (that rate at which all pucks have gone in the net) at even strength this year is a mind-boggling 22% - about 300% higher than the league average (8%) and about 100% higher than Sidney Crosby or a competent PP would manage.

Which is to say, the puck has bounced right (very right) for Monahan in his first four games. As it did for Sven in those first three games. That's not to say the players didn't "deserve" their points in each instance - none of the markers in question were random bounces off of legs or empty-netters. But the NHL is a difficult league and scoring is notoriously fickle. Remember, on-ice SH% almost always regresses towards the mean (8%) on a long-enough time line - which means Monahan isn't going to continue to score at will. Heck, even if he's Sidney Crosby's offensive equal (he's not), Monahan's ES goal frequency is still bound to be cut in half

That's an easy to point to understand conceptually, but an important truth I've learned in writing critically about hockey is that performance almost always equals perception in the general fanship's minds eye. With "offensive results" almost always being a proxy for "performance" (unless a guy is a role player who gets a pass for working hard and trying to hurt the opposition).

Unfortunately, performance does not always equal true talent, since factors like luck and circumstances have a non-trivial effect on outcomes in the league. Results jump up and down around the mean with the bounces, and often, so too do the general sentiments of a player's abilities and value.

There's lots and lots to like about Monahan's game as teenager in this league. He's already poised, methodical and thoughtful, which are hurdles many kids never clear on their way to the show. He's big, strong and looks like he'll be able to play in all areas of the ice. There are reasons to be excited about the player.

But the team and the fans need to proceed with caution. Monahan's output has been goosed by a spike in percentages that is not going to persist. Our evaluation of his talents have therefore been similarly skewed. Very soon, the organization will need to make a decision about whether to send Monahan down to junior or burn a year of his entry-level deal in the show this season. Right now, it seems like a no-brainer to keep him, but the decision makers need to recognize the transient nature of his current output ri and try to project how they would view him if only one puck had gone in for him so far. Or How they'll like the decision to keep him if the kid goes pointless for a 10-game stretch mid-season, which is entirely possible.

I'd suggest Flames fans also need to temper their expectations a bit, because the kid isn't going to score 102 points as a 19 year old rookie and there are going to be rough patches at some point, be it this year if he stays up, or next year when he makes the team full time for sure. Sven Baertschi, who is probably the best pure offensive talent in the Flames pro ranks currently, is now enduring some of the unpleasant consequences of the hype that an early hot streak can cause.

As a fan, I'm enjoying Monahan's impressive run, but also steeling myself for the inevitable downturn. He remains one of the club's most important prospects and is likely a key contributor in the near future, but he still has a long way to go before he truly becomes that guy. 

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 10:05AM
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if he stays the entire season i'd be shocked if he broke 35 points.

he needs to go back.

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#3 icedawg_42
October 11 2013, 10:09AM
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I'm glad you brought up Sven - cause this is the exact same kinda hype that I think has done some (hopefully short term) damage to the kid. Watching Monahan there is no doubt that this guy is special and I believe he will indeed be the face of the franchise - but I'm 100% on board with you in that he'll need to grow into that, and that will take some time.

I think the same attitude has to be taken with the team overall. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the fact that as of this morning the Flames sit 8th overall and the cOilers sit 29th, but come-on..that's not going to last. Hopefully the team and the individuals on it will be able to roll with the punches when they hit some adversity. In the meantime I'm enjoying the ride - which is something I can say about watching the Flames for the first time in a long time.

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#4 walter white
October 11 2013, 10:12AM
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Send Monahan back after 6 games to work on his defensive game, then call him up the last 3 games of the season so he can play a few games with Gaudreau, Arnold etc.

2 unrelated topics:

Bodog has Hartly as the most likely coach to get fired now that Laviolette is gone from the flyers?? My money is on AV....

Stuart gets 3 games for an elbow on Nash, but Edler gets nothing for his elbow to the head of Hertl??? Canucks are the dirtiest team in the N! Come on Shanahan

WW

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#5 mattyc
October 11 2013, 10:13AM
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Even if you cut his ppg in half, he's still on track for a 50pt. season right now. He's also been averaging 3 shots a game, which is pretty impressive. I wouldn't bet on him finishing the year with +250 shots, but even if he finishes with 150 and regresses to an 8-10% SH%, that's still nothing to sneeze at.

Plus, he's gonna sell so many jerseys.

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#6 mattyc
October 11 2013, 10:14AM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

if he stays the entire season i'd be shocked if he broke 35 points.

he needs to go back.

Why would you be shocked?

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#7 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 10:15AM
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@mattyc

luck will run out, will likely get tougher minutes as the season progresses, less pp time with stajan and cammi back, underlying numbers indicate strong sheltering.

also i can totally see a situation where he has 3 or 4 bad games in a row and he gets sat in the press box for some idiotic reason like "it will teach him humility" or some bull justification leading to a post hoc ergo propter hoc situation where nothing of value is accomplished and it just leads to him missing games.

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#8 Dave
October 11 2013, 10:17AM
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Very good article. I enjoyed reading it. I've been sitting on the fence about whether he should stay or go down to juniors. I think you're right that we need to temper our expectations but I think that he will develop best in the NHL right now. I think he should stay with the flames. Not because he's got 5 points in 4 games but because he's not way over his head in the NHL. I think he's earned a spot on the team and I think he'll develop fine in the NHL.

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#9 icedawg_42
October 11 2013, 10:18AM
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@walter white

This Bodog thing: what a load of crap. Unreal. Hartley had this team on the same page before preseason started - aka, look at their conditioning. So far they've come screaming out of the gate playing like a team, and playing hard (regardless of a plethora of defensive mistakes). The guy has had zero chance to implement his system with the lockout season, the team is in full rebuild mode, and in the first year. Has only a handful of legit NHL vets - and he's on the chopping block? I think Flames management is a bit more savvy than that. Hmmm..yeah, lets go get Iron Mike, cause this team needs a task master to whip them into shape. What a joke.

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#11 icedawg_42
October 11 2013, 10:22AM
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@icedawg_42

Dallas Eakins is doing a real bang up job with that "talent laden" squad to our North...what's Bodog's book on him?

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#12 Johnny Be Gaudreau
October 11 2013, 10:23AM
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Good Article Kent. Not what I was expecting.

I agree all of these are valid points and if any fans have the expectation of Monahan keeping this torrid pace up for the rest of the season then I yeah I can see what you mean by how they'd be disappointed. I recognize it's not sustainable. Like I said to a fellow twitterer the other day. No one should be expected to maintain a SH% into the 20's that's ludicrous.

The fact that he has started that high is an indication that the kid has some offensive upside and he can make some things happen. I am interested to see like everyone else, however, how he responds the first time he struggles. That will be the true test.

All that's left and what his staying or going comes down to for me is this. How will the coaches and management respond when he does struggle? If they can ride it out and let him struggle but continue to coach him through it and stick by him then he should stay. If they aren't comfortable doing that then he should go back to junior. I personally as others have mentioned feel that the finer things Sean will need to work on and develop cannot be further improved in the OHL. Is the OHL conducive to learning a more rounded and solid defensive game? not in my opinion. Will the OHL help him improve his face off percentage? Not in my opinion. He needs to play against NHLers and with NHLers to learn the tips and tricks in the face off. He needs to be there to feel the pressure from 6'3 215LLB guys on the forecheck or cycle hemming him into his own zone deep. He needs to learn that as a centre it's his job to support the D when they are trapped behind our net and that HE has to come out with the puck and put up the boards and get it out of the zone. And as far as I am concerned that is what he has to learn and the best place for him to do that and grow is in the big league.

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#13 icedawg_42
October 11 2013, 10:24AM
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@Kent Wilson

I would hope (REALLY hope) that Monahan's point production is a secondary criteria for management to decide if he stays or goes. We all know that has to tail off somewhat. It's how he deals with it, and deals with the day to day life of being a pro that matter.

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#14 Johnny Be Gaudreau
October 11 2013, 10:27AM
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On an unrelated note. Man how about that awesome culture in Edmonton. What is it shall we call it the draft first finish last culture? way to go OIl!

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#15 Johnny Be Gaudreau
October 11 2013, 10:31AM
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@Johnny Be Gaudreau

Let's see how many super star talents we can accumulate and waste single handedly. -- Edmonton a philosophy of losing.

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#16 schevvy
October 11 2013, 10:37AM
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So you're saying Monahan's NOT going to get 103 points this year?? Damnit Kent. You're the worst. Always so negative...........

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#17 mattyc
October 11 2013, 10:41AM
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@Justin Azevedo

That's fair, and I imagine a lot of that will happen. I think (if he stays, obviously) he'll settle into the 3C role (behind Stajan and Backlund), so he'll still get some PP time (albeit not as much as now since we've got enough opportunities that Ben freaking Street plays the PP). It won't be this easy all year, but settling in the 30-35 point range sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Worst case scenario is he sticks and gets put in a 4th line role with the plugger du jour. I have to imagine that won't happen, given what we've heard Hartley and Feaster say, but who knows...

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#18 icedawg_42
October 11 2013, 10:45AM
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@mattyc

I would say that if Monahan starts getting 4th line minutes and linemates, I'll be among the first storming the gates demanding he get sent down. And Schevvy - be careful there, you don't wanna call down TEH thunder!

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#19 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 10:47AM
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icedawg_42 wrote:

I would say that if Monahan starts getting 4th line minutes and linemates, I'll be among the first storming the gates demanding he get sent down. And Schevvy - be careful there, you don't wanna call down TEH thunder!

the issue is if that happens it will likely be after the 9 game mark so it really doesn't matter.

also i look forward to the day where people actually say why they disagree with me instead of just blindly mashing the trash button on my comments.

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#20 TRAV
October 11 2013, 10:49AM
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Caution of expectations is good advice for Flames fans. Having said that I also think that after years of sluggish effort and a below average on ice product, Flames fans should also enjoy the moment while its here. Celebrating exciting play and great results is what makes it fun to be a fan!

I would be very interested to see an in depth article evaluating what Monahan needs to work on. ie: defensive coverage, faceoffs etc. I then would be interested to read various perspectives about where he can best learn and develop. Is the coaching better in the NHL? What might the conditions need to be to develop at this level? Who has been successful in the past and what was their team makeup? Who might be considered a similar kind of player and what was their path? (both successful and un) I think that both Justin and Ryan or on record as saying send the kid back. What are other writers perspectives and has this changed or what might it take to change their mind? By that I mean is there nothing that a 19 year old could so that would convince you that staying up is best for his development or are you seeing things in his play/ numbers that are informing your decision?

Finally that Bodog line is laughable. One of the things that I was most impressed with in camp was the teaching that Hartley did. He almost always is having side conversations with players helping them with positioning etc. From my vantage he is both a good motivator and teacher.

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#21 They're $hittie
October 11 2013, 10:52AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I've been really pleasantly surprised by his overall game. Already a very complete player.

I just don't hope he's kept up because he's scoring at will right now.

Complete player? Isnt he getting eating alive in corsi? Minus player despite being the leading scorer.

Things are pointing to luck and powerplay here. Not consistency and even strength production.

I think you meant to say shows signs of becoming a complete player.

And as a non flames fan I can say I think he will be one, but this article has hit it on the head.

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#22 Jeff Lebowski
October 11 2013, 10:55AM
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Interesting points. However, I can't see anything about his scoring chance created rate because FN either doesn't track it or sees little value in tracking it. Either way, to me the analysis on any player is therefore incomplete.

Can advanced stats (the ones used extensively here) tell us how many chances he creates in the scoring area (even attempts, not just actual shots). Does 23 get out on ice, get in ozone and set up attempts in the middle of the ice or other tightly defended areas of the ice? Does the opponent see an increase in scoring chance attempted rate when 23 is on ice? How many shifts does 23 share with the 44-55 D pairing for CGY? That to me is indicative of how he is playing, not goals and assists (although if you look at all his points you see it's not bounces per se but hockey IQ), and NOT CORSI as Lambert tried to emphasize.

Again, I understand value of advanced stats. I realize people mention the limitations of Corsi but after stating limitation they use the stat as evidence to bolster their point. It's just that Corsi would be useful if we were watching professional table top hockey - think about it. Players move north and south, the point is to shoot on net as soon as you get puck, since every inch of the playing area is a prime scoring spot. That's what Corsi seems to imply.

It's not telling you anything interesting.

The way I understand your point is, there will be an inevitable regression to the mean for this player. Don't be blown away by a hot streak. There will be tough periods ahead (some even say 23 is having them now ie -3 games etc). Fair comment.

I look at those 'mistakes' those missed assignments, as NOT bad. It's NOT hurting his development. In fact it's helping.

Mistakes just show you where you need to improve. They should be embraced. The remarkable thing with 23, is he doesn't seem to make the same ones twice. Even in game. He self corrects rather quickly. Another way to describe this is called progression. He puts in the work and improves. Watching him, not assessing and waiting for the regression to mean, is how you ACCURATELY assess this progression.

And this to me is the key point. Is he progressing? Hartley has said, there is still a lot of Junior plays in his game. Mistakes really. Is the answer to removing the junior mistakes to send him back to junior? Really?

I'm not as adamant that he should stay. I really think the full 9 should be used but after those you see has he corrected the errors and is he still creating scoring chances in 13 min of ice time?

-As a note, my intention is not to ridicule the use of advanced stats. I deeply respect the curiosity, just questioning how advanced they really are, I mean linear regressions, means etc for a non linear dynamic system (what hockey is)? Somebody should employ the brains at the Santa Fe Institute if you really wanted interesting data.

Of course, I am no expert. I might be too simple. Or I might be bang on. Troy award was on fan. He said interesting things about how they track player on ice performance hint: scoring chances. Something to think about

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#23 icedawg_42
October 11 2013, 10:55AM
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@Justin Azevedo

So no matter what he can't get sent down after 10 games? (aka...fine send him down it still costs you a year of his ELC) - (and yes I realize this is bad business)....Someone suggested letting him play 6 or 7 then bring him back to finish the season - I kinda like that idea.

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#24 Dave
October 11 2013, 10:58AM
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I'm also curious about how he's adjusting to pro life outside the rink. Does he have team mentors and who are they? How is he in the dressing room? at practices? I think it's just as important how you focus off the rink that determines whether you should stay or go back to juniors. All this stuff is what the coaches and trainers see daily. In the end I'm going to trust their decision. In two years the flames have gone from a team that I cheer for but reluctantly watch because they are so frustrating to a team that I love to cheer for AND watch. I believe the management and coaches are doing an excellent job rebuilding the team and keeping the "winning culture." I won't agree with all their decisions but overall they've drafted exceptionally well, changed the identity of the team, moved players that needed to be moved and most importantly creating a lot of competition for each roster spot.

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#25 Captain Ron
October 11 2013, 10:59AM
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The last time I was this optimistic about a young center in his first season in the NHL I was watching Dale Hawerchuck who was also 18 I think when he broke into the league. He went on to score 45 goals and 103 points in his rookie year.

I have to agree that Monahan likely won't keep up his current pace but he could get 50 points or more if he stays all season. After watching him live in the first few home games there is no question he can play in the NHL. Listening to him talk you know he wants to stay here too. I will be very surprised if he is sent back to junior after 9 games.

Man how badly did this team need a center like him on the roster? I know it is early but you just know this kid is no bust and will be a huge part of the team going forward.

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#26 schevvy
October 11 2013, 11:00AM
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@icedawg_42

If he plays more than 9 games I'd be stunned if they sent him back to junior. That's awful asset management if that happens

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#27 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 11:00AM
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@Jeff Lebowski

we track scoring chances on the site. he's +2 for the year.

he plays 3rd and 4th line comp while starting in the ozone 60% of the time.

corsi is a proxy for possession. people get too caught up in the actual number of a player. to me, it looks like he gets out possessed on the ice. the numbers reflect that.

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#28 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 11:01AM
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@icedawg_42

no, you can still send him down until he reaches 41 (?) games played but yeah it burns the first year of his elc.

he gets 9 games - regardless in what configuration. as soon as he hits 10 gp his contract starts.

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#29 oldtimehockey4
October 11 2013, 11:06AM
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I wish we had 20 games to look at this guy. Every game he makes me second guess wanting to send him back to junior. Corey Pronman said it best on twitter, how is it a good thing to keep someone in 9th grade when he should be in 12th? Just because he would dominate those 9th graders doesn't mean it would help his development, because he wouldn't be pushed like he is up here in the NHL.

It really sucks that 9 games is all the Flames have to make a decision, because it truly is too small of a sample size. Like you said in the article, players go through stretches of 10 games where they light the world on fire or go pointless, and it's not necessarily indicative of their true talent.

Saying all that, I am really starting to lean to keep him, as the only part of his game that does look like it still needs work is his defensive game. As he's already shown that he's a dominate 3 zone player in the OHL, putting him back there to work on his defensive play is counterproductive. You need to have him learn how to defend men while playing against men. It's always better in all facets of life to challenge someone then let them be content at a lower level.

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#30 Brad
October 11 2013, 11:08AM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

no, you can still send him down until he reaches 41 (?) games played but yeah it burns the first year of his elc.

he gets 9 games - regardless in what configuration. as soon as he hits 10 gp his contract starts.

This may have changed on the new CBA, but I believe the 41 games is also what triggers buring a year of eligibility towards being a UFA. The contract itself burns a year at game 10, and then the UFA clock ticks at game 41.

But I cannot find anything except old CBA items regarding that.

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#31 icedawg_42
October 11 2013, 11:09AM
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schevvy wrote:

If he plays more than 9 games I'd be stunned if they sent him back to junior. That's awful asset management if that happens

Yeah - I agree..but I was thinking of a scenario where he continues to light it up on the scoresheet for like 15 games, then drops off the face of the earth - "COULD" they still send him to junior. Jazzy answered that question.

And let me clarify - I think this would be worse than the worst case scenario! Hoping there's no way it comes to this.

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#32 DoubleDIon
October 11 2013, 11:17AM
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@Kent Wilson

I agree with you entirely on the regressing to the mean Kent. Monahan is not going to continue to score at anywhere close to his current rate unless the underlying numbers have an upward trend.

I guess my question is can he continue to be a productive NHLer throughout the course of the season? At least productive enough to earn top 9 minutes. If he can get on the ice for 15+ per game I think he'll develop best at the NHL level. If he can't, then I think he'll develop best in junior. For me, his development trumps the entry level year, so if he's good enough I say keep him up even though I'm generally not an advocate of keeping Junior aged players with the big club. I make an exception for guys like Monahan, Barkov, Mackinnon, Yakupov and Hall because of their physical maturity. They are NHL sized. Guys like RNH, Drouin and Gagner would be/have been hampered long term because the skill set is there, but they aren't physically ready yet.

That said, 4 games isn't a big enough sample size. I like the Flames approach, wait the full 9 games and make your decision with as much info as you can. If you could wait 25 games I'd like that even better. Unfortunately you can't. Monahan competes hard and wants to do the right things. His desire to be a 200 foot player is commendable and I think he'll learn best how to be that player at the NHL level if he can stay above water with the big boys.

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#33 Captain Ron
October 11 2013, 11:18AM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

luck will run out, will likely get tougher minutes as the season progresses, less pp time with stajan and cammi back, underlying numbers indicate strong sheltering.

also i can totally see a situation where he has 3 or 4 bad games in a row and he gets sat in the press box for some idiotic reason like "it will teach him humility" or some bull justification leading to a post hoc ergo propter hoc situation where nothing of value is accomplished and it just leads to him missing games.

Who cares if he is getting sheltered minutes right now in his development if he is contributing offensively in those minutes? What offensive minded players don't get that when they are just breaking into the league?

The Sedins have been making a living doing that for years.

And your second paragraph? Holy crap dude where did that come from? Talk about pessimism that's a whole new level for me.

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#34 McRib
October 11 2013, 11:19AM
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I just don't understand the rational for sending him down?!?! If he needed to work on offensive production was undersized (i.e Sven) or not going to get enough ice... I could see it but Major Junior isn't a place to learn defensive positioning...

Its odd FN is huge on modern advancements in looking at the game through "advanced stats", but are also the biggest old school homers with needing to send people back and "cap management".

Plain and Simple if Sean Monahan was on a better OHL team he would have scored 90+ points and thus have been a Top. 3 pick. No one would be questioning sending him down then, but people cannot fathom keeping a 6th Overall Draft Pick.

Not to mention they are greatly underestimating this kids Hockey IQ, outside of Sam Reinhart no one has even come close for me the past three-four years. The kid is so smart sending him back to a league where he is on a completely different level than everyone will bring very little benefit.

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#35 DoubleDIon
October 11 2013, 11:21AM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

we track scoring chances on the site. he's +2 for the year.

he plays 3rd and 4th line comp while starting in the ozone 60% of the time.

corsi is a proxy for possession. people get too caught up in the actual number of a player. to me, it looks like he gets out possessed on the ice. the numbers reflect that.

I agree that he is by eye currently getting out possessed. That said, his effort level is high on the back pressure and he looks strong enough. I think continued coaching and teaching along with league familiarity is the answer. I don't think it's a physical or effort thing. Lets be honest, who beyond ROR hasn't been out possessed their first few games? He's a smart, hard-working kid and I think he'll be above water at the end of a season.

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#36 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 11:21AM
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@Captain Ron

i simply stated that because it has a huge effect on his scoring potential. harder minutes - which will come over the course of the season - will leave him beaten.

grigorenko and matteau last year alone off the top of my head played about 25 out of 40 games, being healthy scratches for double-digit gp. it happens.

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#37 icedawg_42
October 11 2013, 11:23AM
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@McRib

I didn't get the sense from the article that Kent was saying "send him down" - rather "don't be too hard on the kid when his numbers regress" - I myself am a proponent of keeping him around, but I think we should all caution against believing he should be kept up because of his offensive production. There have been some very good arguments on here about keeping him around to learn the pro game around adults, on and off the ice - with which I wholeheartedly agree. There's plenty of precedent that makes people gunshy about bringing up a prospect too soon, so I understand that sentiment - but this kid ain't no Rico Fata - I think that's already obvious.

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#38 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 11:23AM
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@DoubleDIon

my issue is that he hasn't been out-possessing in extremely sheltered minutes. his corsi rel and scoring chance numbers are marginally positive, but iirc everything else is negative.

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#39 McRib
October 11 2013, 11:26AM
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@icedawg_42

No Kent actually didn't, but everyone else at FN has the past two-three months. Daniel Tkaczuk is also a very similar 6th overall pick that was a junior star. The Flames sent him back down to the OHL two years in a row after he put up 93 points his draft year... What did that do for us we completely stalled his development then destroyed his confidence in the AHL the +3 season. If history tells us anything with past prospects it would be to keep Sean Monahan. I've talked to OHL scouts about Daniel Tkaczuk they to this day are all blown away he never panned out. He is constantly amoung the biggest suprise busts in history if you talk to scouts, he clearly got far too comfortable with pace of play in Junior. Three years of OHL is enough for Sean Monahan, let him make mistakes at the NHL level we can afford it (We want Sam Reinhart correct?) and his Hockey IQ will make it a quick learning curve.

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#40 Jeff Lebowski
October 11 2013, 11:30AM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

we track scoring chances on the site. he's +2 for the year.

he plays 3rd and 4th line comp while starting in the ozone 60% of the time.

corsi is a proxy for possession. people get too caught up in the actual number of a player. to me, it looks like he gets out possessed on the ice. the numbers reflect that.

Respectfully, I disagree. He may in fact, start shifts after a whistle in the ozone 60% of the time but there are shifts on the fly as well.

I've noticed shifts against 1st and 2nd lines as well. Also, which D pairings is he seeing? I was at MTL game. 23 saw a lot of 76. He gets some tough minutes from the D used against him.

His game is not like a RNH. He isn't going to hold the puck a lot, he moves it quickly. To the eye it doesn't seem like possession. Regardless of where the shift starts, where does it end? I don't see him getting hemmed in.

All players make mistakes. He's in the league for the first time, learning on the fly. +2 for scoring chances (which I assume doesn't include attempted scoring chance shots- if you follow what I mean- you do all the right things, say cycle the puck, you work a chance but the attempted is blocked or tightly checked-you have to give credit for setting up the attempted chance)seems pretty good!

I've seen 13 min ice time 5 shots. Those 5 shots are coming from the area of ice that opponents defend desperately aka middle of the ice/scoring area.

I've also watched how he defends his scoring area. Minuses are not always because of his poor play. There are some but again he improves.

I'm not going to change any minds that are already made up. It's just, are you actually watching him or are you applying the judgement after the stats come in? And what is the real value of those stats?

Lastly, he's having fun and so am I. I can only imagine how his family feels. Or how staying in the NHL would help him help his family (parents retire, he buys their house etc). These are human beings after all.

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#41 everton fc
October 11 2013, 11:32AM
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Johnny Be Gaudreau wrote:

Good Article Kent. Not what I was expecting.

I agree all of these are valid points and if any fans have the expectation of Monahan keeping this torrid pace up for the rest of the season then I yeah I can see what you mean by how they'd be disappointed. I recognize it's not sustainable. Like I said to a fellow twitterer the other day. No one should be expected to maintain a SH% into the 20's that's ludicrous.

The fact that he has started that high is an indication that the kid has some offensive upside and he can make some things happen. I am interested to see like everyone else, however, how he responds the first time he struggles. That will be the true test.

All that's left and what his staying or going comes down to for me is this. How will the coaches and management respond when he does struggle? If they can ride it out and let him struggle but continue to coach him through it and stick by him then he should stay. If they aren't comfortable doing that then he should go back to junior. I personally as others have mentioned feel that the finer things Sean will need to work on and develop cannot be further improved in the OHL. Is the OHL conducive to learning a more rounded and solid defensive game? not in my opinion. Will the OHL help him improve his face off percentage? Not in my opinion. He needs to play against NHLers and with NHLers to learn the tips and tricks in the face off. He needs to be there to feel the pressure from 6'3 215LLB guys on the forecheck or cycle hemming him into his own zone deep. He needs to learn that as a centre it's his job to support the D when they are trapped behind our net and that HE has to come out with the puck and put up the boards and get it out of the zone. And as far as I am concerned that is what he has to learn and the best place for him to do that and grow is in the big league.

Good response.

I think Monahan is much more mature than Baertschi now. Meaning Sven was not as mature professionally or physically, as Monahan if you compare their careers at the same mark. Hope this makes sense.

To me, Baertschi's very much a project. Monahan's not. Perhaps the hype went to Sven's head. It won't mess with Monahan's. That's how I see it, anyway. Monahan's a leader. Baertschi's a component, albeit a potential high-end component. Monahan can carry his teammates, on and off the ice. This is not Sven's pedigree.

What I'm getting at is this; Monahan may be emotionally ready for the NHL now. Baertschi may not be. I sometimes find myself wondering why we don't let Sven prove himself everyday in Abby. Is he as accomplished defencively as Monahan? What can Monahan learn in the OHL that Sven can't in Abby? Do you see my point, Flames fans? This is why I hope Monahan stays with the big club. We need not be gun-shy here. All they hype messes with the young guns who lack maturity. To me, this kid's already more mature than Baertschi. And he's already got the size to compete at this level. As for his offencive production, perhaps he turns into a very competent two-way centre and future captain, who scores 50-60 points a season. That's not bad. If he turns into an 80-90 point player, "so be it"!

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#42 kittensandcookies
October 11 2013, 11:33AM
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102 points? Let's be realistic here. He's going to have 150 points this year.

He needs to stay up. He needs to play Edmonton so that he can use his heat vision on the Oilers' top players.

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#43 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 11:35AM
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@Jeff Lebowski

haha oh boy don't pull the "do you watch the games" line on me.

once again, you're getting caught up in the numbers. it doesn't matter how long the puck is on his stick. when he's on the ice, if he has a positive corsi, the team is likely out-possessing (i.e. controlling the play) the other team.

on-the-fly shifts generally even out over the course of a season, which is why we don't put as much focus on them.

unless i'm missing something, corsi tracks exactly what you're looking for.

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#44 durrrr
October 11 2013, 11:38AM
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@Justin Azevedo

for pete's sake, talk about getting caught up in the numbers... He's a 19 year old rookie making the jump from the OHL 3 games into his professional career, who is being quite sensibly sheltered by Hartley. Why would you expect his numbers to look anything different?

The only reasons to send him down are if he's getting his brains kicked in on the possession stats or if the Flames are unwilling to live with the inevitable rookie mistakes over an 82 game season.

Either this year or next year, Monahan will have to transition to the NHL and it's going to be tough sledding at the start. I honestly don't see how dominating a bunch 160-170 pound 16-17year old boys is going to help him learn how to compete against 200 lbs+ men.

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#45 everton fc
October 11 2013, 11:38AM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

Respectfully, I disagree. He may in fact, start shifts after a whistle in the ozone 60% of the time but there are shifts on the fly as well.

I've noticed shifts against 1st and 2nd lines as well. Also, which D pairings is he seeing? I was at MTL game. 23 saw a lot of 76. He gets some tough minutes from the D used against him.

His game is not like a RNH. He isn't going to hold the puck a lot, he moves it quickly. To the eye it doesn't seem like possession. Regardless of where the shift starts, where does it end? I don't see him getting hemmed in.

All players make mistakes. He's in the league for the first time, learning on the fly. +2 for scoring chances (which I assume doesn't include attempted scoring chance shots- if you follow what I mean- you do all the right things, say cycle the puck, you work a chance but the attempted is blocked or tightly checked-you have to give credit for setting up the attempted chance)seems pretty good!

I've seen 13 min ice time 5 shots. Those 5 shots are coming from the area of ice that opponents defend desperately aka middle of the ice/scoring area.

I've also watched how he defends his scoring area. Minuses are not always because of his poor play. There are some but again he improves.

I'm not going to change any minds that are already made up. It's just, are you actually watching him or are you applying the judgement after the stats come in? And what is the real value of those stats?

Lastly, he's having fun and so am I. I can only imagine how his family feels. Or how staying in the NHL would help him help his family (parents retire, he buys their house etc). These are human beings after all.

Excellent take, Jeff. I am on the same page. We forget the human element of these youngsters. And the pros. Some of them, anyway. May get tainted with age, experience, money, and become tools. Jerks. And so on.

I'll never forget when Primeau was traded here from the Bruins. How he talked about not even having the chance to say farewell for a while, to his wife and kids. Didn't see them for months. As a husband/father-of-four, I can relate. Absolutely. May players probably don't care. Some do. I remember Brendhan Morrison having the same sentiments...

Keep him up. Perhaps we'll be talking more about Baertcshi in Abby, and Horak in Calgary? Perhaps we will, soon enough. I hope not. I hope the best, for our kids. And our club.

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#46 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 11:42AM
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@durrrr

when taking his minutes in the correct context, he is getting his brains kicked in.

if he has to go through the transition regardless, why not save a year of his elc and get a better player in year 3 of his first contract rather than year 1 of his second?

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#47 piscera.infada
October 11 2013, 11:50AM
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@Justin Azevedo

...also i look forward to the day where people actually say why they disagree with me instead of just blindly mashing the trash button on my comments.

I disagree. Better?

There's almost as little sense in getting so worked up about him staying as there is in thinking he's Jesus on skates because he's riding high percentages and got off to a hot start.

I think the rebuild makes everyone go a little crazy. I doubt he'll be hurt at all being sent down, but I'm also starting to doubt the perceived absolute deleterious effects on his career if he does stay. The first year of his ELC is something I care so little about that knowing his favorite color in grade 3 would be a more convincing argument as to whether he stays or goes - but that's just me.

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#48 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 11:55AM
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@piscera.infada

how much better would edmonton look next season if they spent 5 million on a #2 defenseman? they can't now because of rnh's contract.

had rnh stayed in junior a year, they would be better overall: a good player on top of rnh at the same level of play. blackhawks were a perfect example of this once rocky died. that's the type of economic impact a year of playing 12:00 minutes a game can have

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#49 Schmenkley
October 11 2013, 11:55AM
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I would normally fully agree with the send him down after 9 crowd, but not for the economic reasoning; that lies fully in the hands of the Flames management and thear pocketbooks.

What I have seen so far from Monahan is an incredibly mature young player who is willing to make the commitment to improve and put in the work. This alone is EXTREMELY rare.

A sequence during the game against the Habs clearly illustrates his hockey IQ; faceoff in the calgary end, Hab player (can't remeber who) chips the puck intoo the corner around Monahan, blows by him and gains possession for Montreal. A couple minutes later, opposite end of the ice, Monahan uses the same move to gain possession in Habs end. Learning on the fly.

If you want to learn to be the BEST you need to compete and apply yourself against the BEST...that does NOT happen in the OHL.

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#50 durrrr
October 11 2013, 11:55AM
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@Justin Azevedo

Well you posted he is +2 in scoring chances. And he's getting favorable zone starts. Which seems actually kind of good for a 19 year old rookie 3 games into the season. I don't have all those fancy stats at my finger tips, so why don't you elaborate on your findings? Um... keep in mind that you have a sample size of 3 games.

Anyway, for a guy who's 6'2 and 187 lbs (at draft time), how is spending a year in the OHL going to make him a better player next year in the NHL over spending this year in the NHL. You know assuming the Flames give him decent icetime and linemates...

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