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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#2 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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#3 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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#4 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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#5 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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#6 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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#7 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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#8 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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#10 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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#11 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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#13 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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#14 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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#15 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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#16 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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#17 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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#18 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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#19 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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#20 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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#21 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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#22 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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#23 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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#24 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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#25 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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#26 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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#27 Schmenkley
October 11 2013, 12:12PM
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@Justin Azevedo

Hah!

Holycherry-pickedanalysis Batman!!

sheesh!

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#28 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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#29 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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#30 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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#31 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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#32 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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#33 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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#34 SVENSANITY
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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#35 SVENSANITY
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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#36 SVENSANITY
October 11 2013, 10:31AM
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@SVENSANITY

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

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#37 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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#38 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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#39 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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#40 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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#41 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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#42 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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#43 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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#44 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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#45 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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#46 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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#47 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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#48 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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#49 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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#50 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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