Monahan Staying with the Flames



Surprising no one, Jay Feaster announced this morning that Sean Monahan will not be returning to junior this season. The 19 year old rookie has had a blazing start to his career offense-wise, but the fact that he doesn’t look overwhelmed at the other end of the ice is probably the reason the club has decided to keep him around.

My pragmatic budget efficiency concerns aside, Monahan has looked like an NHL capable player through his first nine contests, so the fears of him being "ruined" by being needlessly promoted to the show – as happens with some teens – are probably not relevant. And that’s even if you accept that his scoring outburst to start the year is percentages based and not necessarily indicative of his true talent level currently.

Monahan’s skipped the queue is no doubt the best prospect in the club’s hopper currently.


  • prendrefeu

    So anyway, can we get rid of McDonald yet?
    Is there any worse goalie in the NHL? (Honest question, not just asking about the numbers, but more of actual performance)

    …and is there any chance the Flames can get a great backup or better goalie situation with a trade during the season?

  • seve927

    Are we glad we didn’t trade our 3 first rounders to Colorado? Serious question. Would you rather have Monahan, Poirier and Klimchuk, or one of those other guys? I’m glad Colorado didn’t go for it.

    • oldtimehockey4

      That’s a completely moot point, assuming we would have actually gotten O’Reilly back in the deal and he wouldn’t have been placed on waivers.

      You can’t assume we would have had the 6th overall pick if we had O’Reilly, or that the trades to Pittsburgh or St. Louis would have happened.

      Even assuming we made the same trades to Pitt and St. Louis, we would still have drafted Poirier and Klimchuk, but we would be without a first rounder in 2014 and 2015.

      So I guess you could hypothetically look back at this trade in 2015 after we’ve drafted our next 2 first rounders, and see if we should or shouldn’t have made the trade, but I’m betting most would have said Colorado won the trade.

      EDIT: Opps, I just realized you were talking about trading the 3 picks for the first overall, ignore my stupidity and move on…

      • seve927

        I think (hope) there’s less of a gap between 1 and 6 than was expected in June. Given Poirier and Klimchuk’s performances so far, I’m pretty sure I’d go with the 3. Close call though.

      • piscera.infada

        I think it’s a tough call, and as you said, obviously time will tell. But I think it’s more than simply offensive numbers. If this team is going to be built in more or less the same direction they’re playing now (hard forecheck, hard backcheck, cycle, score, and get the puck out of the zone quickly) then maybe Monahan, Porier, and Klimchuk actually fit that bill more than a MacKinnon would. If the goal is to transition this into more of a dangle and score off the rush type team, then no doubt, you want the kid who’s going to play better in that system.

        As of right now though, I agree with the poster above (sorry, forget who that is) I would prefer the three prospects to only one, as Monahan at this point looks like a true blue-chipper.

    • jeremywilhelm

      That one really melts brain cells. Mckinnon is going to be elite but I think Monomoster isn’t far behind & Calgary had way more holes to plug than Colorado. So personally, we need the 3 picks.

      The guy that is amazing me is how Cammi is coming across. Either he & Feasty have talked & know there is no market for him until the trade deadline & his not being a team player is an issue. So either his trade ability is being shined up or he really wants to help the rebuild. I say if Stemps or Cammi are not resigned to a cap friendly deal by the deadline they go regardless & you can throw Stajan in that category.

      Gio being hurt & seeing friggin Butler in the top pairing with Brodie has scared me poopless. Would Liles & a 2nd for Butler a better option in this scenario?

  • Jeff Lebowski

    #14 Jeff Lebowski
    September 19 2013, 02:50PM

    I can definitely see the wisdom of ‘letting the fruit ripen’.

    I also don’t want to see Monahan in Calgary if he’s only going to play sparingly (fourth line or out of position) or sat for stretches.

    I think that NHL regular season tempo and personnel are different from preseason and being good in preseason means…nothing (I remember some Euro dman for Calgary leading preseason scoring one year and then nothing in regular season)

    However, my point is that with ever increasing difficulty in opposition (rookie camp, prospect tourney, initial preseason) Monahan continues to improve.

    If you can agree he is improving, why artificially stop this growth? Why not let him see how far he can take it?

    We all have these projections of what kind of player he is. Why not let him show what kind of player he is.

    If you’re in Monahan’s shoes you are showing you can play well against increasing competition (I imagine your confidence is growing along the way) and you say ‘Thanks but see ya later’

    Now, to your point, it’s not like he’s gonna get ruined in Junior but is it certain he is going to improve on where he is now (NHL) by going to a lesser league?


    If the goal is to be a better NHL player, and he’s currently showing he can play well against, at present, a mix of NHL vets doesn’t it make sense that the NHL is the best place for him to develop? Again, if he’s getting killed SEND HIM DOWN. But he hasn’t shown that.

    With Monahan, when I watch him play, I keep saying ‘good idea’. Even plays that don’t work out (ice is bad, team mate doesn’t complete the play etc) and I keep saying good idea in all three zones. Let him show how far his confidence and skills can take him right now because next year is unknown. What is known is how well he’s playing now. U

    I’m not willing to artificially limit how good he can be right now. I know he believes he can play and so far I’m enjoying watching him prove himself right.

    Yes, he’s 18, yes most 18 year olds don’t make it. But this is an n=1 and it’s unfolding right in front of your eyes but you’re sticking with projection based on aggregates of other INDIVIDUALS. Your dealing with human beings not asset classes.


    Personally I think he can play here and play well. Some people demand hard numbers so ok, establish some bar and test it. Don’t say unequivocally, NOPE, send him down.

    Maybe, I’m wrong. Regardless of where he is now, he will be better next year. But can you tell me exactly how good he will be this year in the NHL? Not based on history, just by watching him.

    • Captain Ron

      I think Sean Monahan is a tribute for the Calgary Flames; and he should stay. Nevertheless, he, Hudler and Baertschi have a great chemistry together….when broken the spell is broken.

  • MattyFranchise

    I like this decision. He deserves to play in the league at his age given his performance over the first nine games. His power play time hasn’t dropped all that much with the return of Squid and while he didn’t get any points last night in PHX he was playing very smart and I noticed more than a few times that he was one of the guys banging away at rebounds right in front of the net.

    He keeps playing like that and he’ll get his points regardless of whether or not his percentages fall to league average or slightly above (I predict him to be in the 10% range this season for shooting unless his shot rate improves) and he’s doing a lot of the little things right.

    I think the primary reason they decided to keep him up is that at his age, not being a complete defensive liability, is a huge bonus. Unlike some of the Flames actual defensemen. I see where the two way center label came from.

    The only thing I’d like to see a major improvement in is his FO% but like every other young center I don’t expect him to be blowing veterans out of the water on the dot any time this season.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    #6 Jeff Lebowski
    September 12 2013, 12:06PM

    I just finished watching A (red) win 3-2 vs B (white). A couple of changes to the lineups: -Reinhart didn’t play for A, instead Jooris drew in. -The goalies were MacDonald for A and Ortio for B Also, the scrimmage was one 50 minute period. The ice got worse.


    Also, at this time of year all these guys are coming in, in the best shape of their lives (I assume 18-35 year olds will improv their fitness year after year). It was easy to see the improved strength and power in Stempniak. He played his game but in battles with d (one in particular with Gio on end boards) he jolted guy’s off the puck or off their skates.

    Monahan-Although he didn’t get on score sheet, he again looked like one of the better players on the ice. Moved puck quickly and smartly. One rush he anticipated the play (a turnover about to happen along side boards near blueline), accelerated past the unaware guy skating with him, picked up the puck, settled his speed and then cut into the middle of the ice (circles) and fired a shot (saved). He is really good. People think he doesn’t skate well or hard. They don’t know what they are talking about. He skates hard when he needs to. His anticipation is top notch. Also he just is a great puck distributor on breakouts, always putting on the tape of he headman with speed. Any doubters that think he should not play in NHL this year are wrong if they think he can’t handle it. MONAHAN IS A SPECIAL PLAYER.

    #4 Jeff Lebowski
    July 13 2013, 02:10PM

    I was at scrimmage too. To my eyes most of the game was played in the Red team’s end (4-1 score). There were some big guys out there so it was good to see the younger guys hang in physically.

    Monahan: Smart, effective player all over the ice. Good on draws and picking up the dangerous guy defensively. Nice shot for Red’s only goal. He’s a young guy but he steps in and just plays with savvy. When he skates the puck he shifts guys to make open ice for himself. Head up, really good thinker and passer. Super poised. I have no doubt he will play and make an impact in NHL. Very happy to see.

    #38 Jeff Lebowski
    September 16 2013, 01:25PM

    Keeping Monahan for PR reasons OR sending him down for future ‘cost savings’ are two terrible, and IMO, laughable justifications.

    The outcome is not how many wins will Monahan add to Calgary this year. The desired outcome is for Sean to play in the place that allows him to grow the most.

    If you look at this through the rather myopic lens of on ice growth only you could easily convince yourself that junior is best. However, think of EVERYTHING that goes into maximizing human potential (how do you make an elite athlete)?

    Take it out of the context of hockey and examine it a different way:

    If you had a child that demonstrated ‘giftedness’, what would you do? Keep him/her in a regular school and expose them to convention or find an environment that accelerates their learning? Will cost win out, especially when you can afford it but in the lifetime of your child you would prefer to save money for a few years.

    Now, if you can’t look at Monahan and IMMEDIATELY see his giftedness then this is a pointless exercise. To me, it’s gob smackingly obvious. Just watch him. I’m not saying he’s Crosby or that he flashes obvious skills. What I see is an 18 year old who can control the play (sometimes that means making a routine play or an amazing play – what is the quality of your decision making?) at the NHL level. His mind is his gift.

    Another point I think about is the young players who are no longer prospects but established but still growing NHLers like Brodie, Backlund, Sven and the WOWY stat. When I watch Monahan play he just screams WOWY monster (he makes people better – perhaps in more ways than shots). I think it serves the Flames better to have that happen with Flames’ assets rather than unaffiliated players (junior).

    #27 Jeff Lebowski
    September 06 2013, 11:30AM

    Moving on, during the Young Star game did anyone else notice that Monahan makes whomever he plays with better (noticeable)? With development camp, rookie tourney, Monahan is one of the youngest out there but also consistently good. His positioning allows him to conserve energy and then he exploits weaknesses in opposition defence. Watch him move without the puck, watch him slip past opponents who are looking at the puck carrier. Impressive.

  • acg5151

    There is no real benefit to sending him down. If he is good enough to roll with the big dogs – which he clearly is, isn’t getting completely killed physically, and gets to work with NHL coaches rather than OHL coaches, I’d say it’s a winning situation.

    Now, if he was sucking and was getting hammered night in and night out and the team was losing I would say send him down. In that case there would be no benefit. However, that’s not happening.

    I really feel like you learn more by working with professionals and learning from them, rather than whipping butt on kids.

    Right now Monahan reminds me of a friend of mine who skipped a bunch of grades and got into college when he was 16. He was getting B’s in college classes – what would he have learned by staying in high school two more years? Now if he was flunking hard I would say he went through a little fast. That wasn’t happening.

    As far as the contract issues, I think it’s overstated. The Flames are going to have to pay him eventually. Another year isn’t going to make a huge difference. Pay him a good contract and lock him up long term if he earns it.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    #40 Jeff Lebowski
    September 20 2013, 10:55AM
    Trash it!
    the-wolf wrote:

    @Piscera and Lebowski – your points are well-taken, but if he’s supposed to be an offensive guy then building confidence by dominating and playing tons is never a bad thing. 3rd line minutes aren’t good enough. The Flames don’t need another checker, so unless he looks like a legit 2nd line center on most teams in the NHL during the regular season, I don’t see where going down hurts him.

    I completely understand the idea of playing time = improving time. The more you play the better you get.

    I just find people fixate on what 3C, 2C mean. To illustrate: -If Monahan is 3C he will play 12 min per night +/- special teams. In Junior he will play 25 min. Seems reasonable.

    Is it not possible that he plays more than that? Against certain teams, maybe at home, he plays 20 mins. It’s not set in stone every night = 12min. No more and no less. What can he learn about how to play more NHL minutes from his NHL ‘mistakes’. That doesn’t mean feed him to the wolves. It means if he proves to play well against 3C opposition, stretch him a little against 2C. See how he responds. That stretching – challenge- is where you grow. Dominating against sub par competition doesn’t mean the same level of growth. Consider that, again he proves he can play well against 3C. That’s guys like Pavelski, Stoll. There is not many top line junior players better than those guys. The NHL weeded out the sub par guys.

    I think that if he can play 3C which I think Averages closer to 15-16 min that is the low end range where he can prove capable in 20 min in the upper range some nights.

    Don’t assume a limit on age or draft position (only top 5 historically play as 18). Let him find his upper end. Suspend for a moment any skepticism, and just allow it to happen. After 9 reassess.

    People really need to stop being so back and white in their thinking. Experiment, change some variables up. Observe result. Don’t assume the result based on past. They have no bearing on Monahan’s outcome. Aggregates are a terrible way to frame how you look at a member of the set. All sorts of terrible biases then distort your thinking.

  • Mitch P

    Anyone catch the snarkiness in Rog’s voice when he asked Jay about the “so-called experts” that thought Sean should go back? (ie: Kent and most of the nation) Always like Rog, but that was interesting to say the least… Also love how quickly did Hartley answer the goaltending question for Dallas… the journo couldn’t even get her question out before he said “Kari Ramo.” Awesome.

    • Captain Ron

      Well Derek,

      Most of us are optimistic about the kids future for some stupid reason or another.

      If you are not then please go ahead and enlighten us with your thoughts about the kid since that is what the comment option is primarily for.

      It is better than criticizing en mass when you don’t agree.

      There are lots of intelligent comments on this forum that are well thought out by the authors.

    • jeremywilhelm

      It is a bit early to welcome his either as savior, or the oft-injured stick-like second coming of RNH. So far he is earning his spot, and the justification for him staying makes sense. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but there are plenty of others staying up too (MacKinnon, Jones, etc)

      More importantly, someone from a blog called Copper and Blue calling the flames stupid is hardly a surprise. Leave them to their god-awful mess, and worry about developing our team.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I think most of those that are calling the flames stupid are assuming that it means that we’re going to throw him to the wolves. Don’t think we’re going to be like the oilers and do that to a first year player. He’s going to be sheltered and put into the situations he can handle like most rookies who are treated properly. Every now and again they are going to let him get his butt worked over to make sure he see’s that he needs to improve but that’s all normal stuff.

    Keeping him up was the right choice!

  • Aussie Flame

    There has been a lot of banter regarding ELC on this site, admittedly not as much on this thread. My question is if we start his ELC a year earlier, won’t his first contract be cheaper than if we start the ELC next year? Won’t another year of development/growth improve his 3 year ELC performance and justify more money?

    Following from this, do we expect the Flames to be contenders in 3 years? If not, say we expect them to be closer to contending in 4-5 years, aren’t we better to start his ELC now, and have him on a cheaper contract in his 4-5th year, than start it next year and have a more expensive first contract for those years?

    I don’t know if anyone has raised this/answered this yet

    • MichaelD

      First by saying ‘cheaper’ we are talking about millions of dollars, and no I don’t think it will be much cheaper because in three years Monahan will have shown what he is worth, one more year of development in three years from now won’t make too much of a difference in terms of money.

      My point is, it’s not NHL 13 where every year a player increases by X number of overall (which corresponds to X number of dollars) until a certain age and then starts decreases by X number of overall. Three years from now it’ll be clear how Monahan fits into the team and an extra year of development will mean nothing compared to contract talk.

      Edit: The point you raise has been raised many times and debated though. A quick search (on this site or others) will show both sides, theres pros and cons

  • jeremywilhelm

    I don’t think Feaster had a choice in the end, the kid made it impossible for him to send down. Not only would the Flames have a hole to fill in the lineup. A lot of Fans would have been calling for Feaster’s head. It’s been a long time since a Flame’s rookie started scoring right off the bat in the NHL and usually those players turn into star players. Maybe in a few years time, he turn out to be the best player of the 2013 draft and people will say what a steal at 6th spot.

  • The billeting condition is likely because he’s never lived alone before. They want him to focus on hockey, so having someone else deal with his day-to-day stuff at this point is smart. He can learn about the everyday stuff over the summer.