Sean Monahan is getting paid, too

Pat Steinberg
December 28 2015 10:51AM

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Earlier this month I wrote about just how big Johnny Gaudreau's new contract is going to be with the Calgary Flames. Well, in case you've forgotten, there's another high profile forward in need of a new contract, as well. Just like Gaudreau, Sean Monahan is negotiating his second contract and is in line for a rather sizeable raise. There seems to be a sentiment, however, that Monahan's deal is going to come in noticeably lower than Gaudreau's. I'm not convinced that's going to happen, however, and I'm going to tell you why.

I get why some think Monahan's contract might end up costing the Flames less than Gaudreau's. First off, Gaudreau's numbers have been better than Monahan's in their season and a half together. But Gaudreau is also a far more noticeable player on the ice, mainly because everything he does seems to be exciting. But even though Monahan's numbers haven't been quite as impressive as Gaudreau's, I really feel like the new contracts they sign will end up looking very similar. It's important to remember that Monahan does have an X factor in this conversation.

The centre bump

The centre position is perhaps the most valued in the NHL these days, and for good reason. A franchise centre can set a team up for years and is the most sought after commodity each year at the draft. Monahan plays the position, Gaudreau does not. For that very reason, Monahan's next contract moves closer to Gaudreau's than the numbers might suggest.

When looking at the 20 highest cap hits in the league right now, nine of them are owned by centres. That compares to four right wingers, three left wingers, and three defenceman, and one goaltender. Teams pay a premium down the middle and that's going to help Monahan in these negotiations.

The comparable

Finding a comparable contract for Monahan wasn't quite as easy as it was for Gaudreau. Vladimir Tarasenko's eight year contract signed over the summer served as a perfect starting point for Gaudreau because the two players play the same position and had very similar numbers. Monahan's case is a little bit different.

There hasn't been a really recent example of a contract that applies nicely to Monahan, so instead, we'll go back a few years. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers signed a seven year, $42 million dollar deal in September of 2013 to kick in the following year. Now more than two years later, I still think there are some relevant areas to compare and contrast.

RNH Mony chart

So, while Nugent-Hopkins performed better as a rookie, Monahan's totals were better in year two and are on pace to be better in his third year, as well. Nugent-Hopkins signed his deal prior to the start of his third season, and did so after a tough sophomore campaign. Monahan, on the other hand, scored 30 in his second season and looks to be on pace to be in that range again this year. If these two players were both up for contracts at the same time, I think we'd see fairly similar contracts.

In saying that, let's analyze the money. Nugent-Hopkins had his deal kick in prior to the 2014-2015 season when the cap was set at $69.0 million. That means he accounted for 8.7% of Edmonton's salary cap in the first year of his second deal. If the cap stays at $71.4 million next season as it's expected to, Monahan's deal would need to carry a cap hit of $6.2 million to match the ratio on the Nugent-Hopkins extension.

That math above is if we were putting the two charted players on exact equal footing. In reality, Monahan's first two seasons were probably more impressive than those of Nugent-Hopkins. To score 30 as a sophomore like Monahan did last year is not easy to do.

If Monahan's camp were to use this as a comparison, they'd probably be using Nugent-Hopkins's deal as a starting point and going from there.

A final number

I didn't find it overly difficult making an educated guess as to what Monahan's next deal will look like. There are two players that I think are relevant to compare to. The first is Nugent-Hopkins, and I think Monahan's cap hit should at least be as high. The second player, though, is Gaudreau himself, even though his new deal hasn't been signed, either.

Let's just say Gaudreau's deal ends up carrying a cap hit of $7 million. My belief is Monahan's deal will end up being lower than his linemate's, but only by a few hundred thousand dollars. My feel is Monahan ends up being being cheaper by about $500,000 on an AAV. Yes, his offensive totals haven't been quite as impressive, but Monahan should get a nice little boost because of the position he plays. That should even things out a little bit when the two contracts eventually get signed.

I think Monahan gets a max deal or something close to it. I ballparked Gaudreau at $56 million over eight years for an AAV of $7 million. Knowing that, I'll put Monahan at $52 million over eight years which works out to a $6.5 million cap hit. For this team's potential number one centre for years to come, those numbers don't seem far fetched at all.

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Pat Steinberg is the host of Calgary Flames Hockey and The Big Show on Sportsnet 960 The FAN. He likes advanced stats more than most other radio guys, but knows less about them than most of you reading right now. Follow Pat on Twitter @Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 Lombardi
December 28 2015, 11:01AM
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Thank you Pat for using % to salary cap at the time. Think it's very underused and should be how we measure players contracts instead of $.

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#2 bob
December 28 2015, 11:12AM
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For contract purposes it likely doesn't work, but as far as comparables go, I can't watch Sean Monahan without thinking of Dave Andreychuk.

Both have size, incredible hands and patience with the puck, great offensive sense and the same plodding, very avg skating ability and edge control.

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#3 KACaribou
December 28 2015, 11:15AM
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I am sure your percentage of total is a valid way of looking at payroll, Spreadsheet. Good analysis.

The one point I will make in comparing RNH with Mony is that Sean has had the extreme pleasure of having Johnny Hockey on his wing. That has to account for a difference in points.

However, The Nuge has been completely ruined by the Oilers and the young man seems to have lost his way completely. In Jr. the kid looked like Gretzky at times.

I'd take Monahan any day over the Nuge now. Partly because he is a larger presence and partly because when he decides to fully commit to a physical game I think he has the opportunity to be a real force in the league. Last night I think I saw him body check someone hard - even Ferly-like - not just the token run-into he usually performs.

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#4 beloch
December 28 2015, 11:37AM
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It still amazes me that Monahan is just barely 21. The announcers would be harping on how young he is every game if he didn't look like a veteran and 19-year-old Sam Bennett wasn't also around. Monahan is going to be a damned fine player by the time he's 26!

In other news, the Oilers traded Scrivens for Zack Kassian. Remember Kassian? He was so dirty even the Canucks didn't want him. The Oilers experienced his filth in glorious jaw-busting goonicolor, so they know precisely what they're getting. Unless Chiarelli acquired Kassian for the sole reason of ensuring he never plays in the NHL again, I may have to go back to hating the Oilers. This a zero-class move!

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#5 KACaribou
December 28 2015, 11:42AM
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beloch wrote:

It still amazes me that Monahan is just barely 21. The announcers would be harping on how young he is every game if he didn't look like a veteran and 19-year-old Sam Bennett wasn't also around. Monahan is going to be a damned fine player by the time he's 26!

In other news, the Oilers traded Scrivens for Zack Kassian. Remember Kassian? He was so dirty even the Canucks didn't want him. The Oilers experienced his filth in glorious jaw-busting goonicolor, so they know precisely what they're getting. Unless Chiarelli acquired Kassian for the sole reason of ensuring he never plays in the NHL again, I may have to go back to hating the Oilers. This a zero-class move!

But what really is the difference of him being on the Canucks or Oilers to the Flames? Oilers had Gazdic out last night and it was completely ineffective.

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#6 ultrathinzigzags
December 28 2015, 12:08PM
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Those god damn stupid Coilers. Couldn't work a decent deal for themselves if their lives depended on it. Screwing sh!t up for everyone else. What are they the NDP of the NHL?

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#7 BurningSensation
December 28 2015, 12:10PM
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bob wrote:

For contract purposes it likely doesn't work, but as far as comparables go, I can't watch Sean Monahan without thinking of Dave Andreychuk.

Both have size, incredible hands and patience with the puck, great offensive sense and the same plodding, very avg skating ability and edge control.

Please.

Andreychuk was famous for not being able to skate backwards.

Monahan is an average NHL skater at worst, and much better than big Dave wver was.

Now if Monahan could score like Dave, especially on the PP, that would be something.

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#8 BurningSensation
December 28 2015, 12:11PM
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ultrathinzigzags wrote:

Those god damn stupid Coilers. Couldn't work a decent deal for themselves if their lives depended on it. Screwing sh!t up for everyone else. What are they the NDP of the NHL?

Unlike the Oilers, the NDP have proven more than capable of winning.

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#9 Kevin R
December 28 2015, 12:11PM
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Got job Pat! Yes, both of these numbers sound pretty realistic & that is taking into account Tre's ability to get players to take a little less so they have cap space to build a winner. There's a price to pay for success & I can't wait for the Flames to get their cheque book out.

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#10 Burnward
December 28 2015, 12:12PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Unlike the Oilers, the NDP have proven more than capable of winning.

You mean the "Anyone but Prentice" election?

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#11 Kevin R
December 28 2015, 12:13PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Please.

Andreychuk was famous for not being able to skate backwards.

Monahan is an average NHL skater at worst, and much better than big Dave wver was.

Now if Monahan could score like Dave, especially on the PP, that would be something.

30 goals last year & on target to come close this year sounds pretty friggin good to me.

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#12 Burnward
December 28 2015, 12:14PM
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Hickey continues to blow me away.

Positioning, skating, accurate first pass, quick shot, hockey IQ.

What a bonus.

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#13 suba steve
December 28 2015, 12:26PM
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Burnward wrote:

Hickey continues to blow me away.

Positioning, skating, accurate first pass, quick shot, hockey IQ.

What a bonus.

But,....Wally said he (and MacDonald) was a complete bust/wasted draft pick after the first game.

Now I'm just confused. :)

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#14 Burnward
December 28 2015, 12:28PM
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@suba steve

My favourite ice cream is Tiger. So who knows where my sanity lies.

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#15 suba steve
December 28 2015, 12:33PM
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@Burnward

Mmmm, orange/licorice...me likey.

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#16 BurningSensation
December 28 2015, 01:09PM
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Burnward wrote:

You mean the "Anyone but Prentice" election?

I mean they've won elections and formed governments across the country.

My point being that unlike the Oilers, they aren't a joke.

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#17 Burnward
December 28 2015, 01:18PM
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@BurningSensation

*holds tongue firmly*

;)

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#18 everton fc
December 28 2015, 01:19PM
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They have to lock up Monahan/Bennett/Gaudreau, or the season tickets sales, already in jeopardy due the current economic free-fall, will dry up as fast as the goals and wins.

Makes the likelihood of Hudler and Russell being Flames next season, as well as Wideman, less than likely. But if they can sign Jones on the cheap, and get Ferland comfortable on the right-side, they may not skip a beat. We shall see.

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#19 Jake the Snail
December 28 2015, 01:38PM
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beloch wrote:

It still amazes me that Monahan is just barely 21. The announcers would be harping on how young he is every game if he didn't look like a veteran and 19-year-old Sam Bennett wasn't also around. Monahan is going to be a damned fine player by the time he's 26!

In other news, the Oilers traded Scrivens for Zack Kassian. Remember Kassian? He was so dirty even the Canucks didn't want him. The Oilers experienced his filth in glorious jaw-busting goonicolor, so they know precisely what they're getting. Unless Chiarelli acquired Kassian for the sole reason of ensuring he never plays in the NHL again, I may have to go back to hating the Oilers. This a zero-class move!

perhaps they just wanted to get rid of dead salary playing in the minors taking away time in the nets from other prospects.

When is Chia going to pull the trigger on trading RNH or Eberle to get a top flight D-man. After all he traded Tyler Seguin...

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#20 bob
December 28 2015, 02:58PM
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@BurningSensation

Nearly every NHL'r is a better skater today than in 1982. And no comparison is perfect, but their games are very similar, and Monahan is a very avg skater considering his draft pedigree at 6th overall, like Andreychuk was at 16th. In fact there were many who wrote things like "The only knock on Monahan is that he isn’t a fluid skater, but he has time to perfect his stride before he makes his NHL debut."

Furthermore, their points are very similar too.

In his first three seasons (185GP) Andreychuk scored 83 goals and had 95 assists for 178pts.(.45 GPG and .96PPG)

Monahan has played 191games, has 65 goals and 57 assists) He's on pace for 81G in his first three years.

If you adjust for scoring from Andreychuk's era Monahan would be around: 86G 76A for 162Pts (.45GPG and .85PPG).

There are more than just a few similarities backward skating aside. A more glaring difference is one is a center and the other primarily a winger.

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#21 KACaribou
December 28 2015, 03:30PM
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Re: Andreychuk/Monahan comparison. Don't see it at all. Maybe a bit of a reach. I think Monahan is a far better skater than he is being given credit for here.

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#22 Carlizzle
December 28 2015, 08:36PM
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How about Sammy's hits last night. They posted the hits in the 3rd period, about the 3 minutes in, and it was 14-4 for the good guys and Sammy had 5 of those 14. All were good but my favorite were 2 on the same play when he knocked Hendricks down twice. The next time that we play the C-Oilers at the Dome, someone should have a "Hendricks fears Benny the Badger" sign at the ready.

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#23 calgaryfan
December 29 2015, 12:23AM
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Do not agree Mony is a legitimate Number 1 centre, and he may never be with his skating. Bennett is probably the Flames future Number 1 with Mony Number 2. Do you pay a number 2 centre 6 or 7 million? Look at the best centres in the league now and compare the skating level, play making, zone entry. Mony is not there yet. The Flames should look at a bridge deal to see if his skating improves. The league is getting faster every year and he already has trouble keeping up. He is great in the offensive zone around the net but his 200 foot game is suspect.

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#24 Deeds
December 29 2015, 01:35PM
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KACaribou wrote:

I am sure your percentage of total is a valid way of looking at payroll, Spreadsheet. Good analysis.

The one point I will make in comparing RNH with Mony is that Sean has had the extreme pleasure of having Johnny Hockey on his wing. That has to account for a difference in points.

However, The Nuge has been completely ruined by the Oilers and the young man seems to have lost his way completely. In Jr. the kid looked like Gretzky at times.

I'd take Monahan any day over the Nuge now. Partly because he is a larger presence and partly because when he decides to fully commit to a physical game I think he has the opportunity to be a real force in the league. Last night I think I saw him body check someone hard - even Ferly-like - not just the token run-into he usually performs.

In his first year RNH had Eberle inflating his stats too, the season Eberle scored 76 pts. (2011-12 season).

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#25 John
December 29 2015, 03:16PM
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I don't think comparing a contract handed out by the worst managed team in the history of the NHL (Oilers) to something the Flames should mimic with one of their players. Always earned, never given right?

Monahan simply hasn't earned it for me... yet. The reason being is his numbers wouldn't be where they are at or even close with out Johnny Hockey setting him up.

I think Monie should get a standard bridge deal before he gets the big money.

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