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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#51 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 11:59AM
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@durrrr

+2 in scoring chances isn't really anything over the course of 4 games: there's already been almost 60 chances for and 60 against.

I think you misunderstand the value of the zone start stat: favourable zone starts are designed by the coach to give a player a leg up when starting a shift. it is not inherently an evaluation of the way a player is playing.

he has a 60% zone start, which means his numbers should be better than they actually are. i realize it's only 4 games, but there's only 9 games to evaluate this kid so while sample size has to be taken into account so does the urgency of the decision to keep him up or send him down.

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#52 kittensandcookies
October 11 2013, 12:01PM
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He's probably going to stay up.

The cap's going up and the owners have always been fine with spending up to the cap. It's only money to them. Hey it's not like CNRL spends money on stuff like, say, pipeline spill cleanup.

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#53 Jeff Lebowski
October 11 2013, 12:02PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

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.

Not intending to imply you don't watch games. What I'm saying is, there is context that gets lost when looking at stats. That context is extremely meaningful.

What does 'likely' mean?

If you see a negative corsi for 23 what does your brain 'imagine' what happened? He was hemmed in?

I saw a shift against Columbus. Without going into detail he was minus corsi but he dominated the shift. And it was against Gaborik and Wisnewski. He created 2 attempted scoring chances to one weak shot from a non threatening area by Gaborik.

When you read a guy gets 4 SOG how do you imagine he got those? All flying down the wing and ripping it top corner or do some come from neutral zone?

corsi doesn't differentiate the difference in shot quality. Corsi doesn't tell you that context. You are left to add whatever narrative you want. Watching the build up, the unfolding of the play, informs you about the shift. Of course you can't track or remember every detail so what gets left out? What gets included? How much of that is 'noise'?

I don't see the use of a stat that requires me to make so many 'likely' assumptions. I don't like stats that are too noisy.

If a team gets 30 shots on net, how many are in scoring area? How many came from cycles down low, point shots with screens in front and how many are non quality, low percentage? Not likely but exactly?

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#54 Schmenkley
October 11 2013, 12:04PM
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@Justin Azevedo

So...you don't factor into this process the coach's thinking about offense?

If I have a faceoff in the opposition end, I'm putting out the guys I feel give me the best chance to create some offense, not purely putting out a guy I feel I need to "shelter".....Monahan being one of the hottest point producers so far this young season, I would give him the nod as well, sheltering be damned.....

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#55 cccsberg
October 11 2013, 12:06PM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

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

Would agree with most of your comment. The advanced stats show a general trend but aren't that advanced as there are other factors to consider. Growth, attitude, and ability to work with the best coaches/systems are more important to his overall growth. Also, there's the perception issue i.e. performance-based rewards impact not only him but others on the team. If Monohan's earned it to stay he should stay, period.

There seems to be so much concern on this site about burning a year of ECL but how/where on the Flames has that been an issue in the past? I can't recall one. Just because Edmonton has boxed themselves in with the ridiculous $6mm contracts to multi players and built cliques within the dressing room instead of building the team doesn't mean it'd happen here or that we should be particularly worried about it. We could just as easily use Detroit as THE model for good, sensible contracts for players that have actually earned it. I think if you start off with the right attitudes and team-based thinking from the start, and from the top down, which Calgary is doing you'll have a pretty good chance of being successful with any potential contract issues down the road....

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#56 piscera.infada
October 11 2013, 12:08PM
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@Justin Azevedo

Look, I understand the argument. I just don't agree.

There's no need to be patronizing and absolutist. We're not talking science here. Sorry if it's just your writing style, I'm sure we could have a few beers and enjoy a lively debate, but your comments on this particular thread remind me of the episode of South Park where everyone starts smelling their own farts. How do they smell?

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#57 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 12:08PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

over the course of a season, shot quality does not matter.

"likely" means there's times where he's marginally positive or negative over a game due to one bad shift, but that equals out over the course of 82 games.

if i see a negative corsi for monahan or any other player that indicates to me when he was on the ice the flames didn't have the puck as much as the other team did when he was out there.

we track scoring chances to answer your last question. if it's not a chance, it's a "low percentage" shot.

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#58 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 12:10PM
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@Schmenkley

that doesn't really matter to me or to the context of the stat.

his zonestarts tell me that his other results aren't up to snuff.

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#59 Schmenkley
October 11 2013, 12:12PM
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@Justin Azevedo

Hah!

Holycherry-pickedanalysis Batman!!

sheesh!

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#60 Southern_Point
October 11 2013, 12:13PM
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Everyone pointing out Monahan's +2 scoring chance differential should note that in the first three games he was outchanced by a wide margin, which he made up for by having one excellent game against the habs.

Further for two of those first three games he was playing with our best possession forward in Stempniak and Baertschi who is typically a positive player possession wise as well, and yet that whole line was still getting severely outchanced.

I'm not taking a stance one way or another, just stating that a crash down to the mean will happen, however with the sample size being small it's entirely possible his chance differential and corsi rel will stabilize and end up being better then what we saw in the the first three games. We just don't know one way or another right now and probably won't until the decision gets made on whether ot not to keep him.

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#61 cccsberg
October 11 2013, 12:15PM
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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.

Question: On the one hand its being said Monohan's SP% is way to high at 25%, while at the same time saying his CORSI is too low... did I get that right? Well, ummm if he's scoring more than normal (i.e. fewer shots to score) isn't his CORSI going to be artificially low because of that, all other things being equal? Iwould think that would be true, and there would be a similar correlation with other players with high SP% (e.g.Crosby, etc....).

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#62 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 12:16PM
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@Schmenkley

that doesn't make sense.

fact: his zs% is around 60%.

fact: players with higher zone starts have better opportunities at scoring and possessing the puck.

fact: monahan's stats are not as good as they should be with that zs%.

fact: his scoring stats are being boosted by luck.

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#63 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 12:17PM
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@cccsberg

not quite. corsi measures everyone on the ice with the player - so even if he only has 2 or 3 shots in a game but scores on one of them, the other 4 guys on the ice might not score with 40 corsi attempts. thus, his sh% stays high but his corsi number also increases.

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#64 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 12:23PM
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@piscera.infada

but it is a science. the fact that there is a cap makes it so.

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#65 loudogYYC
October 11 2013, 12:31PM
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I honestly can't believe we have readers here at FN that think Monahan should stay up. We've just spent the last 3 years pointing and laughing at Edmonton, watching them f*ck up their rebuild, and now people want to take the same steps that got them in this new mess?

The Oilers are about to get into the same cap trouble all the top teams are in, except they haven't won a playoff round since 2006. Why the hell would any Flames fan want the same thing??

Return him to junior let him become dominant and even more confident while rounding out his game, and once he passes that test with flying colors make him an NHLer. Period.

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#66 Jeff Lebowski
October 11 2013, 12:31PM
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@Justin Azevedo

over the course of a season, shot quality does not matter.

"likely" means there's times where he's marginally positive or negative over a game due to one bad shift, but that equals out over the course of 82 games.

That's just it. The stat is directional. It requires a large sample size to tell you anything.

Using it as justification for a 4 game sample or game to game is...non scientific(?).

On one hand, the argument is his counting numbers look good now but it's just a hot or lucky streak.

On the other hand, corsi justifies what I'm seeing. Corsi used in this context (4 game sample) is ok...

That is the very definition of people using stats to tell whatever story they want, the damn lies expression.

If shot quality doesn't matter (over the course of season) why don't teams just shoot the puck as soon as they get it anywhere on the ice - get a turnover in the neutral zone, just fire it from outside the blueline. Like in table hockey.

Why bother to cycle, or play in the offensive zone at all?

Shot quality doesn't matter indeed.

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#67 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 12:39PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

like i said above, i'd like to have a much bigger sample size but the 9 game max demands a smaller one. based on past data we know with a large amount of certainty that his scoring numbers will go down. we don't know that his corsi numbers will increase, so that's the difference there.

as for shot quality, http://www.arcticicehockey.com/shot-quality, specifically this one http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2011/10/25/2512376/luck-vs-shot-quality-in-shooting-percentage. i don't think i explained myself well.

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#68 cccsberg
October 11 2013, 12:55PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

not quite. corsi measures everyone on the ice with the player - so even if he only has 2 or 3 shots in a game but scores on one of them, the other 4 guys on the ice might not score with 40 corsi attempts. thus, his sh% stays high but his corsi number also increases.

Still not clear... This is what I read about stats from the Canucks Nation site...

"WHAT THE HELL IS A CORSI?

Now, you might have looked at that chart from J.P. Nikota above and thought to yourself, "What the hell is a Corsi?" Well, I'm not going to get into where the term came from, but suffice it to say that Corsi refers to shot attempt differential. At the team level, that just means you add up all shot attempts for one team, including those that were blocked or missed the net, and subtract the shot attempts for the other team. At the player level, you do the same thing for all shot attempts for and against while that player was on the ice. The result can be expressed as a positive or negative number, or more often as a percentage. The latter is calculated simply by dividing shot attempts for by total shot attempts by both teams.

There are a number of variations on Corsi that try to factor in things starting from a face-off in the offensive or defensive zone, quality of teammates, quality of opposition, etc. One of the more common is CorsiRelative. Note, this is has nothing to do with that drunk uncle that shows up to all your family events:

No, CorsiRelative is the difference between an individual player's Corsi while he is on the ice and the rest of the team's Corsi while he is off the ice. This helps to pick out players that might be driving possession even though they play on a horrible team."

So, bear with me, but for understanding's sake. Let's assume both teams and all players have the same SOG and Shot% rates, and therefore the same CORSI's all around. This would be the baseline. If a single player then doubles his Shot% but everything else stays the same, his CORSI is going to go way down because he's not taking as many shots as "normal" and therefore not "driving possession". Instead of possession, he's scoring, which after all isn't that the ultimate goal here...?

Since I'm totally new to these stats let me know where I'm wrong. But otherwise it seems pretty clear to me that these 'advanced' stats aren't telling the whole story and are skewed by success due to scoring, versus what people are assuming is success, i.e. lots of shots and possession.

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#69 Big Ell
October 11 2013, 12:56PM
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From http://www.quanthockey.com/nhl/player-age/18-year-old-nhl-players.html

18-Year Old NHL Players with similar draft position to Monahan who played more than 40 games.

1983-84 Andrew McBain (8) 1983-84 Cam Neely (9) 1987-88 Dave Archiblad (6) 1990-91 Jaromir Jagr (5) 1995-96 Radek Dvorak (10) 1998-99 Manny Malhotra (7) 1999-00 Tim Conolly (5) 2000-01 Scott Hartnell (6) 2002-03 Pierre-Marc Bouchard (8) 2007-08 Sam Gagner (6) 2010-11 Jeff Skinner (7)

How can anyone be certain that it was beneficial or detrimental to these players development that they played as 18 year olds.

18-Year Old NHL players returned to development team after 8-9 games.

2005-06 Gilbert Brule (6) 2008-09 Nikita Filatov (6) 2010-11 Nino Niederreiter (5) 2011-12 Mark Scheifele (7) 2011-12 Mika Zibanejad (6)

I guess it is too early to judge these players and the sample size is insignificant.

No point really, just thought it was interesting.

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#70 Jeff Lebowski
October 11 2013, 01:24PM
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@Justin Azevedo

I respect your position. I'll read the article but after reading the content here and like minded sites I've noticed this observation:

The advanced stats community opines about the convention, gut feeling etc of traditional hockey analysis. The Brian Burke's of the world. These guys who claim an intuition from being in the game. There is a special insight they have compared to 'outsiders'. On this site, people have complained about Feaster/Weisbrod thinking they're the smartest guys in the room.

But it is the AS community that is doing exactly the same thing. AS seems to give them the idea they have an insight to the game others fail to recognize. Being mad at Feaster/Weisbrod is more about those two thinking they are smarter than the AS community.

The observation is: you guys are different sides of the same coin. Both rigid in their thinking and unjustifiably over confident.

The same group of people advocating AS create all the 'evidence' in support of it.

There is something to it (stats). You can't totally ignore it but it's not sophisticated (not using the right math if you will) for the type of event it's attempting to describe (non linear).

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#71 MWflames
October 11 2013, 01:40PM
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Just a few of my thoughts of where Monahan is at:

1. Yup, he is scoring at ridiculous pace. Also, I don't think many people believe this pace is actually sustainable. We've also seen him create a fair bit of offence in his first 4 games which is the encouraging part. The fact that he has a few goals and few assists so far (regardless of how lucky he has been) just helps demonstrate that the offence he is creating and supporting is of NHL calibre and effectiveness. And by that I mean, he isn't just doing fancy selfish plays that look good and worked at the OHL level, but likely fail to create any traction at the NHL level.

2. I also think analysing his first few games isn't worth too much value: You have to expect he's been totally jittery, nervous and pumped up on adrenaline for at least the first 2 or 3 games. This is going to lead to some decisions and risks he might not usually make in which we see goals for and against. Tonight marks his 5th game and his 3rd game in a row at home. You have believe his comfort level is leaps and bounds ahead of where he was in Washington and Columbus. What I want to see over the next 5 games is a positive progression towards better decision making and comfort level. If that's the case I have no doubt he's the 3rd best centre in this organisation and is ready for the NHL.

3. A few things to keep in mind about Monahan: He's a month away from this being his draft +2 year in which it's perfectly acceptable for high pedigree prospects to start their NHL career. He's already completed 3 years of junior which, IIRC, is pretty rare for a player in Monahan's position. Also IMO, he's definitely physically and mentally mature enough for the NHL. Is there actually anything left for him in junior? - I'm leaning towards nope, no there isn't. I just think these are some positives and factors towards keeping Monahan up.

4. I really just don't see many red flags right now (if any at all). My biggest concern about keeping him up is minutes. Fortunately, we know Hartley really likes this kid. At the same time, there is no way he is kept up if Hartley is like "um ya, I think I should be able to get him 10 minutes of ice time this year."

5. The (amusing) Corsi argument: Generally I like the stats. I think they paint a good picture, and help depict what teams are made of. Unfortunately, I can't support a whole lot of weight being put into advanced stats for Monahan at this time. Why? I just think that his situation is a dark and relatively uncharted corner of the hockey world that have vastly more underlining reasons for success or lack there of other than just hockey. Things that just can't be narrowed down to a statistical science. Things like: Attitude, maturity, nervousness, and the fact he's 4 games into his rookie season, he's 18 and playing on a team that really has no advanced statistical reasoning for it's outcome thus far. Correct me if I'm wrong on that last point.

As a fan I want to watch him play for the rest of season. I'm just looking forward to how he progresses over 5 games. From seeing what I have and if he's continues to trend upwards over the next few games I gotta say he should be here.

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#72 Parallex
October 11 2013, 01:43PM
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@cccsberg

"There seems to be so much concern on this site about burning a year of ECL but how/where on the Flames has that been an issue in the past?"

... There has been no opportunity for this too be an issue. The Flames have not had a junior eligible prospect start the year with the team since the cap was introduced.

Ultimately it will become an issue because if he's kept up he'll end up getting paid more early then need be... to the Flames today that makes no difference but to a later interation of the Flames (one that spends to the Cap) it will be an issue as it will for at least one year eat up cap space that otherwise might have gone to enhancing the team elsewhere.

The only people that keeping Monahan up will help will be the fans that are like so many kids in December that don't have the patience to wait until Christmas to unwrap the new toys.

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#73 the-wolf
October 11 2013, 01:47PM
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loudogYYC wrote:

I honestly can't believe we have readers here at FN that think Monahan should stay up. We've just spent the last 3 years pointing and laughing at Edmonton, watching them f*ck up their rebuild, and now people want to take the same steps that got them in this new mess?

The Oilers are about to get into the same cap trouble all the top teams are in, except they haven't won a playoff round since 2006. Why the hell would any Flames fan want the same thing??

Return him to junior let him become dominant and even more confident while rounding out his game, and once he passes that test with flying colors make him an NHLer. Period.

I've pointed out the same before as well. Funny how people change their minds when it's their own player - any and every excuse. Where Edmonton was stupid, in Calgary it's just money. People don't seem to get the concept of how hard it is to build a Cup worthy team under a salary cap.

I've stated before that I have to eat a little bit of crow on how well Monahan has played so far and that's with me being one of his biggest boosters at draft time. The signs are all good. But Kent and Justin are absolutely right that a lot of the arguments people are making are really just based around his point totals. As Kent said, what if he just had one goal?

So now I'm at the point where I'll get off the fence. The underlying numbers show he needs improvement. Going back to junior isn't just about dominating teenagers offensively. It's about playing a ton of minutes in every situation and excelling in all areas of the ice. Working dilligently on everything he's been instructed to work on from Flames' staff. That's easier to do at a slower pace of play. It's how one learns technique. Stellar play in all 3 zones is a skill and you don't develop skills in a full blast environment.

The one down point is that Monahan is already so big and strong. With that I concede, he's an older pick and is already 19 (or soon) so the argument of maturing physically is moot with him (though his skating still needs work).

At the end of the day I'll err on the side of caution. I just don't see it hurting him to go down and it certainly won't hurt the cap situation.

The Daniel Tkaczuk situation btw, is totally different. DT was not nearly as mature physically and was not ready for the NHL at 18. He ended junior with 105 points and had 25 goals and 66 points in 80 games inhis first year in the AHL. He also had 11 points inhis first 19 NHL games.It was a major concussion that did DT in. He was never the same again to the point that he couldn't even replicate his AHL numbers. Oranges and apples there.

So if Monahan does stay up I won't be annoyed because he's come further faster than I thought. And while I don't see him hitting a wall as hard as some youngsters do after hot starts, I still come down on the side of more minutes played being greater than quality of competition at this point. After all, next season he'll face that anyways.

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#74 the-wolf
October 11 2013, 01:53PM
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Parallex wrote:

"There seems to be so much concern on this site about burning a year of ECL but how/where on the Flames has that been an issue in the past?"

... There has been no opportunity for this too be an issue. The Flames have not had a junior eligible prospect start the year with the team since the cap was introduced.

Ultimately it will become an issue because if he's kept up he'll end up getting paid more early then need be... to the Flames today that makes no difference but to a later interation of the Flames (one that spends to the Cap) it will be an issue as it will for at least one year eat up cap space that otherwise might have gone to enhancing the team elsewhere.

The only people that keeping Monahan up will help will be the fans that are like so many kids in December that don't have the patience to wait until Christmas to unwrap the new toys.

You make a very astute point here. People keep pointing to the fact that ownership will spend to the max as a positive, a justification for burning a year off the ELC.

In fact, it's the opposite. It's that sort of mind set that will catch up to the team down the road when they have to start renewing contracts. If the Flames spent well under the max as part of their own internal cap, then they would have a large cushion.

Edmonton has already seen just how fast that cushion shrinks.

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#75 the-wolf
October 11 2013, 01:58PM
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I find some of these arguments regarding advanced stats amusing. Look, I can't pretend to agree with every stat argument trotted out by every writer here at FN. But here's the thing:

1) Stats are what FN is sort of all about, so complaining about articles based around stats is pointless.

2) You either subscribe to the stats or you don't. One can't use Corsi and Fenwick, etc. to support their position when those stats back it and then turn around and kick those same stats in the teeth when those same stats suddenly don't support their position.

It's one or the other, you either buy into them or you don't becuase the methods for collecting them and calculating them don't change.

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#76 Kevin R
October 11 2013, 02:34PM
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WTF!!!!!!!!

Jesus, anyone else out there that thinks if the Monahan/Sven line is the best line or most dangerous line on the team, then let the good times roll. So like if it works, lets change it in the name of perceived development. I say BS, if the kid can play & right now has more points than Iginla & Kesler & Marleau & Thornton & many other high profile NHL players, then let him play for crying out loud.

Wolf/Loudog: I don't want to be like the Oilers either, but the big difference is, that when these kids started to lose over & over & over again, year after year, Management chose to keep the lineup the same & roll these kids out for failure over & over & over again. Playing these very talented Oiler kids wasn't the mistake, it was the Oil Managements inability to bring in proper vets to assist in making these kids successful on the ice at the NHL level. 2 very different things. Someone is going to win the Calder trophy, why cant Monahan have that shot if he plays well enough?

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#77 Drewski
October 11 2013, 02:44PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

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.

I think we mash that button for a good reason. I understand we need to temper our expectations and no I don't think he will be a ppg for the rest of the year...but did you honestly think he would look this good through 4 games? Advanced stats aside, to the eye I like the way he is playing.

I like your comments and articles. But there seems to be a condescending air to a lot of them. Is Feaster the best gm around? Definitely not. But do I think you/Jeremy/lambert would do a better job? Not a snow ball's chance in hell. So lets be happy the flames don't look nearly as bad as expected and get back to making fun of the loveable losers to the north.

So there ya go. Now I will continue to mash

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#78 SmellOfVictory
October 11 2013, 02:44PM
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cccsberg wrote:

Question: On the one hand its being said Monohan's SP% is way to high at 25%, while at the same time saying his CORSI is too low... did I get that right? Well, ummm if he's scoring more than normal (i.e. fewer shots to score) isn't his CORSI going to be artificially low because of that, all other things being equal? Iwould think that would be true, and there would be a similar correlation with other players with high SP% (e.g.Crosby, etc....).

Depends on the player. Some players with high SH% (like, skill-wise) have a high SH% because they absolutely pick their shots (Alex Tanguay, Curtis Glencross) and have low shot totals.

Most players with high SH% are simply better shooters than average (Crosby, Stamkos, Kovalchuk, Iginla); you look at those guys as examples and the number of shots they take, and it's way above league average. There's no real overarching correlation between SH% and shot totals.

If we're talking luck-based, as with Monahan currently (because there's no way in hell he's a 25% shooter, since literally nobody in the NHL is, career-wise), it shouldn't make a difference either. If you shoot the puck 3x/game on average, but one game your first two shots go in (still counted as shots), are you going to shoot less because you feel like you've filled your quota? Pretty unlikely.

And this would apply to on-ice SH% as well, just on a team scale. Shots go in, you're not going to start taking less than other players on your team just because your line happens to be getting offensive success.

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#79 TRAV
October 11 2013, 03:03PM
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@Kent Wilson

Lots of excellent back and forth on here regarding Monahan. I have heard Justin and Lambert pretty clearly about their position. What is yours Kent and why? Also what would be the tipping point for you either way?

Reading your article my take was cautious optimism. (does this equate to it being better to keep him or send him down?)

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#80 cccsberg
October 11 2013, 03:13PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Depends on the player. Some players with high SH% (like, skill-wise) have a high SH% because they absolutely pick their shots (Alex Tanguay, Curtis Glencross) and have low shot totals.

Most players with high SH% are simply better shooters than average (Crosby, Stamkos, Kovalchuk, Iginla); you look at those guys as examples and the number of shots they take, and it's way above league average. There's no real overarching correlation between SH% and shot totals.

If we're talking luck-based, as with Monahan currently (because there's no way in hell he's a 25% shooter, since literally nobody in the NHL is, career-wise), it shouldn't make a difference either. If you shoot the puck 3x/game on average, but one game your first two shots go in (still counted as shots), are you going to shoot less because you feel like you've filled your quota? Pretty unlikely.

And this would apply to on-ice SH% as well, just on a team scale. Shots go in, you're not going to start taking less than other players on your team just because your line happens to be getting offensive success.

Very good points which I fully agree with, to a point. My thinking with higher SH%/lower CORSI was that with lower SH%, i.e. not scoring there's a higher likelihood of more immediate shots (multiple rebounds) than if you score and have to start back at center ice and work back into the offensive zone.

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#81 the-wolf
October 11 2013, 03:13PM
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Kevin R wrote:

WTF!!!!!!!!

Jesus, anyone else out there that thinks if the Monahan/Sven line is the best line or most dangerous line on the team, then let the good times roll. So like if it works, lets change it in the name of perceived development. I say BS, if the kid can play & right now has more points than Iginla & Kesler & Marleau & Thornton & many other high profile NHL players, then let him play for crying out loud.

Wolf/Loudog: I don't want to be like the Oilers either, but the big difference is, that when these kids started to lose over & over & over again, year after year, Management chose to keep the lineup the same & roll these kids out for failure over & over & over again. Playing these very talented Oiler kids wasn't the mistake, it was the Oil Managements inability to bring in proper vets to assist in making these kids successful on the ice at the NHL level. 2 very different things. Someone is going to win the Calder trophy, why cant Monahan have that shot if he plays well enough?

It's not I disagree with you per se, as mentioned I'm a lot more ok with him staying up now than before. However, you're looking at a very small amount of games coupled with sheltered circumstances and declaring Monahan and Sven as our best players?

Agree with your Oilers comments 100%, but they don't relate to what I was saying about them.

Again, it's about minutes vs competition. Playing a ton in every situation and having the time (and ice time) and space to implement, practice and hone everything you've learned vs superior players, but in sheltered circumstances and way less minutes. Something he'll face next year anyways. I just happen to lean in favor of the former.

Like I said, I was caught up with it too, but upon closer and more objective examination, while I wouldn't be annoyed if he stays up (at one time I would've been), I think going down is best long term.

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#82 Derzie
October 11 2013, 03:21PM
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My position is this: I like his play. He is playing as good or better than a lot of his peers. I don't care at all how much Murray Edwards pays him and when. He seems to have outgrown junior. The AHL is a booby prize league for high end guys. Let him play. He'll be good, and he'll be bad. Just like every other hockey player.

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#83 durrr
October 11 2013, 03:36PM
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@Justin Azevedo

I understand perfectly well what "zone start" means and how it is used, thanks.

As I understand it, the "scoring chances" statistic is recorded by... you? This is not a centrally recorded statistic by an independent observer and it is not widely available? By the way, what exactly defines a scoring chance?

If you've been making the point of sending Monahan down and you are the one recording scoring chances, is it possible you are introducing a bias into your own data?

Hockey is such a subjective game with elements of chaos, luck and skill that even "advanced statistics" are simplistic, blunt instruments at best. On their own, I generally take these things with a grain of salt. The points you are making are based on 2 statistical categories (scoring chance differential and zone starts) from a 4 game sample size of data of uncertain reliability, so you'll have to excuse me if I'm not entirely sold on your arguments here.

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#84 kittensandcookies
October 11 2013, 03:41PM
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@the-wolf

To be clear, there's what *we* think should happen to Monahan, and then there's what we think the *Flames* will do. They aren't necessarily the same action.

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#85 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 03:59PM
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@durrr

a scoring chance, as tracked by me, kent and about 100 other people around the net is a shot in this diamond: http://canucksarmy.com/uploads/Image/Scoring_Area_large.jpg. there is little to no bias in the data for me - if it's a shot and it's in that area it's a chance.

I am making my claims based on everything he's done, not just zs% and sc%. 4 out of 9 games is roughly 45%. if we have 9 games to work with, there's going to be a significant amount of noise, yes, but better to try and find the signal rather than shut the radio off.

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#86 Justin Azevedo
October 11 2013, 04:03PM
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@Drewski

anybody with the amount of luck he's had through 4 games would look this good. the eye aside, non-advanced stats show us he's due for a downturn in production.

I have no problem with disagreement, but i do have a problem with people who just dislike and then don't tell me why. doesn't make any sense and it's cowardly.

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#87 coachedpotatoe
October 11 2013, 04:16PM
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I have to admit that I don't really understand all of the stats talk that people use here. I have tried to read much of what you created but find it rather boring so I tune it out, others love it and see it's purpose so I'm okay with it. However I do know many coaches who don't like to many stats; stats are often something more important to players and their agents. A good coach will have a feel for what is going on and the stats will just be used to confirm these beliefs; a useful tool. However a good coach will also go with his/her gut feeling at times and frequently be right, coaches today would make a mistake not to at least investigate all of these types of stats and see what is useful to them and their situation. I heard a long time ago that stats can be made to defend any position you want and are created by liers and lawyers to prove their point. So we can look at all the Monahan stats we want and come to different conclusions. For me it comes down to this will his development be better at the OHL or the NHL. The conclusion I have come to is he would be best developed playing here unless over the next 5 games it becomes evident that he is struggling.( I was originally a 9 and done guy) Playing against boys in OHL will not speed up his development but pad his stats, here he will make mistakes but be surrounded by some pretty solid vets who will help him (this is different than what has happened in Edmonton and he is a different player than RNH of Hall). Hartley, his staff, Feaster and Burke have a difficult task ahead of themselves regarding this young man. He does have a bright future.

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#88 Captain Ron
October 11 2013, 04:19PM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

I respect your position. I'll read the article but after reading the content here and like minded sites I've noticed this observation:

The advanced stats community opines about the convention, gut feeling etc of traditional hockey analysis. The Brian Burke's of the world. These guys who claim an intuition from being in the game. There is a special insight they have compared to 'outsiders'. On this site, people have complained about Feaster/Weisbrod thinking they're the smartest guys in the room.

But it is the AS community that is doing exactly the same thing. AS seems to give them the idea they have an insight to the game others fail to recognize. Being mad at Feaster/Weisbrod is more about those two thinking they are smarter than the AS community.

The observation is: you guys are different sides of the same coin. Both rigid in their thinking and unjustifiably over confident.

The same group of people advocating AS create all the 'evidence' in support of it.

There is something to it (stats). You can't totally ignore it but it's not sophisticated (not using the right math if you will) for the type of event it's attempting to describe (non linear).

Excellent comment Jeff.

I mostly agree with your take on advanced stats. You put this in perspective in a way that I probably couldn't have.

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#89 kittensandcookies
October 11 2013, 04:37PM
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What advanced stats needs are imaginary numbers, like eleventeen and thirty-twelve.

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#90 Seth
October 11 2013, 06:41PM
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@the-wolf

the-wolf - FN's voice of reason against fans are homers.

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#91 dave
October 11 2013, 06:50PM
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@Drewski

Who's Jeremy?

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#92 Kevin R
October 11 2013, 08:26PM
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the-wolf wrote:

It's not I disagree with you per se, as mentioned I'm a lot more ok with him staying up now than before. However, you're looking at a very small amount of games coupled with sheltered circumstances and declaring Monahan and Sven as our best players?

Agree with your Oilers comments 100%, but they don't relate to what I was saying about them.

Again, it's about minutes vs competition. Playing a ton in every situation and having the time (and ice time) and space to implement, practice and hone everything you've learned vs superior players, but in sheltered circumstances and way less minutes. Something he'll face next year anyways. I just happen to lean in favor of the former.

Like I said, I was caught up with it too, but upon closer and more objective examination, while I wouldn't be annoyed if he stays up (at one time I would've been), I think going down is best long term.

But see, that's where this debate is. Is Monahan getting sheltered minutes or is he getting OS because they he has shown success & the best chance of capitalizing on a scoring chance in the offensive zone? It's no different than deciding who starts in net but that is decided by who the coach feels gives them the best success on the ice. I don't think Ramo is being sheltered anymore than Monahan.

I always thought improvement happens when you are challenged and play in situations where you must constantly elevate your play just to compete. That will not happen as much in 25 minutes a game in Junior compared to 14 minutes in the NHL. I know for a fact when I golf with better players, I play better than when I golf with the usual hacks like my normal game.

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#93 loudogYYC
October 12 2013, 01:08AM
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Kevin R wrote:

WTF!!!!!!!!

Jesus, anyone else out there that thinks if the Monahan/Sven line is the best line or most dangerous line on the team, then let the good times roll. So like if it works, lets change it in the name of perceived development. I say BS, if the kid can play & right now has more points than Iginla & Kesler & Marleau & Thornton & many other high profile NHL players, then let him play for crying out loud.

Wolf/Loudog: I don't want to be like the Oilers either, but the big difference is, that when these kids started to lose over & over & over again, year after year, Management chose to keep the lineup the same & roll these kids out for failure over & over & over again. Playing these very talented Oiler kids wasn't the mistake, it was the Oil Managements inability to bring in proper vets to assist in making these kids successful on the ice at the NHL level. 2 very different things. Someone is going to win the Calder trophy, why cant Monahan have that shot if he plays well enough?

Why? Because IMO it's very short sighted. Monahan has totally grown on me and I'm legitimately excited to see #23 among the top 30 centres in the league, but the timing is wrong right now.

Let's not get confused and think the Flames are gonna keep playing .800 hockey this season. Let's also remember that the 82 game season is only 5 games old and most players haven't hit their stride yet.

Baertschi is a crystal clear example of how useless hype can be with a teenage player. He's not lighting up the league like everyone thought he would, he's still just a prospect trying to hold a roster spot. Let Monahan develop at a slower pace, it'll be better for him and us.

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#94 Burnward
October 12 2013, 03:56AM
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I remember when the only stats I got came in the Tuesday paper.

Those were the days.

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