Five things: Let’s go camping



1. What we can take from the preseason

Obviously it’s difficult to draw a lot of conclusions from the games that are going on right now. Calgary, for one thing, seems insistent on playing split-squad games, which is actually really smart if you think about it because that all but ensures that everyone can get plenty of game action and it affords teams a better opportunity to see how goes react when dealing with this and that. The fact that this kind of tactic is something most NHL organizations don’t do regularly doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

With that having been said, it’s important to not put too much stock into these kinds of things. The ability to dominate preseason games does not always extend to same in the regular season and that’s a very important distinction to make.

For instance, the big, funny joke about preseason games and statistical leaders during the mid-2000s was that you could, like clockwork, expect Jon Sim to score a trillion goals and lead the league in scoring. Then once the regular-season started and teams began fielding their actual full-strength rosters, Jon Sim once again became Jon Sim, the guy who scores somewhere in the neighbourhood of 12 or 14 games a year when he gets a full NHL season, which is to say, rarely.

Jon Sim is therefore the term I use for anyone who performs exceptionally well in the preseason, perhaps well enough to earn a spot on a roster he might not have otherwise been able to count on. The preseason and first several games of the season is littered with Jon Sims. The end of the year and the playoffs? Not so much. Jon Sim had just 15 career postseason appearances in his 14-year NHL career.

2. The Flames’ Jon Sim this year

I don’t know that there should be any question in anyone’s mind as to who exactly is going to be Calgary’s "guy who makes the team but probably shouldn’t."

Sean Monahan has admittedly been excellent in this preseason and that’s all well and good. You hope that all the talk from Bob Hartley about the team having "big plans" for him means somewhere down the road, but I’m not so sure. There is, obviously, the contingent who believe that if he’s good enough now, Monahan would be better off playing 12 minutes a night on the fourth line and perhaps in spot duty on the power play, than if the Flames sent him back to Ottawa, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true.

How many times, exactly, have we heard about a kid left too long in junior or college or the minors whose NHL career was therefore ruined? Hell if I can think of any at all. On the other hand, boy do you hear an awful lot about promising prospects who went bust because he got rushed to the show. I’m not saying that will happen with Monahan, and in fact I don’t think it will, but the fact that he’s still junior-eligible should be enough to convince the Flames not to torch a year of his entry-level deal on a flop of a season anyway.

I’ve said this before, but very few kids are exceptional enough to warrant getting decent playing time in the NHL at Monahan’s age, and I don’t know that I consider him to necessarily be that exceptional. I think he’s very good for his age, but he doesn’t exactly have transcendent talent, and the Flames don’t exactly have need of his services in the way that, say, Edmonton did for any one of their several top picks in the last few years. A Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Nail Yakupov could make an impact offensively for that team in a way that few other players in their pipelines could; what does Monahan bring that Corbin Knight for instance does not?

If they don’t have to use him — and they don’t — then I really hope they won’t. For his sake, for their sake. I think Monahan is probably going to be a pretty good NHLer some day, but I don’t see why that day has to be this season.

3. Wideman and the future

Speaking of guys who are doing extremely well in this preseason, how about the work Dennis Wideman’s been putting in? He’s just doing everything exceptionally well, and I really enjoyed watching him play in the one game and several highlights I saw. (Obviously judging a player on his highlights only is how you end up drafting Mark Jankowski, but I digress.)

I wonder, then, what this could mean for him. If he can keep doing anything resembling this kind of regular scoring I wonder if that chums up any interest in him at the deadline, or if he starts thinking about greener pastures as the team nosedives into this most serious of serious rebuilds.

Given what other guys are starting to get on the open market, Wideman’s deal (three years left after this one at $5.25 million per against the cap (though a little more than that in actual money) could possibly fit into someone’s wheelhouse if they’re looking for a good, mobile power play quarterback defenseman. The term is obviously cumbersome for anyone to take on, but you wonder what kind of an appetite a guy like Wideman, who will be 31 when the season ends, has to stick around.

The same, I suppose, could also apply to Jiri Hudler, but I would imagine people like Wideman a lot better given the price point and term. Mike Cammalleri, meanwhile, might as well hang a for-sale sign around his neck for the stretch run.

4. What of Karri Ramo?

Karri Ramo was also excellent in beating the Islanders the other night and is looking, I think, more and more likely to be the No. 1 starter outright, rather than platooning with Joey MacDonald to start the season. That’s all well and good.

I don’t know that it necessarily behooves him to play for a spot against a guy who’s barely good enough to be in the NHL. The guy’s a career backup and while Ramo obviously has to prove he can play in this league long-term, MacDonald has already largely proven that he can’t.

On the other hand, there is the game against the Oilers to consider, in which Ramo was lit up for four goals on 17 shots but I didn’t so much consider that his fault.

The thing is, I think maybe that’s just what Ramo or MacDonald or anyone else the Flames might put between the pipes this season gives you: Mostly decent to good performances and then a real stinker or three thrown in every once in a while. On this team, that’s not a huge issue – but two or three years from now it will be.

5. Finally some good news

I saw where ESPN voters called Sven Baertschi the 100th-best forward in the league right now, which is nice. Even better, though, is that he finished ahead of Bobby Ryan and Jordan Staal, among a number of others. Feels good.

Now, I’m not saying that the rankings are correct in any way, but the outside world positively acknowledging (good) Flames players is cool.

  • piscera.infada

    Gio is a great choice and Glencross as an A makes perfect sense. Cammi at this point is a good thing at this time of course it will lead to speculation of who will replace him after the trade deadline.

    Did anyone get to practice today? Any interesting line combinations? What is happening with Hudler I have not heard his name mentioned much this preseason?

    • the forgotten man

      Hopefully it will turn around his play…last 1.5 seasons have been suspect at times at best – I think it started with he changed his name to Jor-dano…maybe he should go back to Gee-or-dano.

    • piscera.infada

      Definitely the best choice.

      And….is it just me or was FN puttin gout more articles during the dog days of summer than they are now? Not complaining, just sayin’.

      @Piscera and Lebowski – I suppose I agree with you both in principle, it’s just that I seem to have the bar set higher than either of you before I’d think him playing at 18 is the best way to go. And Monahan was ‘my guy’ this draft. I love the kid and that’s why I don’t want to see him go the way of a Josh Bailey, etc. Last thing I want is Hartley burying him in favor of veterans.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        I’m basing it on what he’s showing. He is setting the bar himself. What I’m not doing is making assumptions of where the bar should be given his age. If it’s too much, his play will indicate that.

        All along, he’s earned everything. All he is doing is proving himself right. People just find that hard to believe I guess. I’m not saying give it to him. I’m saying as long as he keeps earning it, you have to give it him. Why deny it?

        No one wants a ‘Josh Bailey’ situation. It’s improper to assume that scenario WILL happen because it’s happened in the past:
        1. He’s not Josh Bailey
        2. Josh Bailey, Rico Fata et al have no bearing on what Sean Monahan is showing he can do.

        Again, I respect the wisdom of your point and it may come to be. We’ll just see.

  • SmellOfVictory

    True. No one is omniscient, but the league is littered with high picks who are offensive studs, brought in at 18 and then flop in the NHL, take your pick. To assert that they’re “not good enough” is ridiculous. Scouts aren’t that wrong, that often.

    And is Monahan really going to be better than all of the other center options? Really? He’s going to play 2nd line minutes over Stajan, Backlund, Knight, Horak?

    Still not seeing the downside in him spending another year in junior. The whole ‘meritocracy’ argument is ridiculous too. So, at the risk of either hindering his development or burning a year of his eLC for no reason at all, lets play him for half a season just to see if he is better than three of those four listed. Smart.

    • SmellOfVictory

      He’d just have to be better than two of the four listed. Third line minutes are fine for development, as he’d also be given PP time, and should hover around 15 min/game total TOI under those circumstances. I don’t think there’s any chance he’s better prepared to play than Stajan or Backlund this season, but I could easily see him being better than Knight and Horak right now.

  • SmellOfVictory

    @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.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      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.

      Think of it this way:
      You’re lifting heavier and heavier weights each session. You’re getting stronger. You suddenly stop this growth in order to keep lifting a lighter weight longer. What makes you grow the most?Either way, you will still be in shape but what method makes you reach your peak strength? That’s the difference between improving in the NHL and dominating in junior.

      Now of course, you could say what about possibility of 8 min or less?

      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.

      Why not see (in preason and 9 ) if he can get there?
      Furthermore, in these rookie, preseason games so far, how many minutes is he playing a game? Yet he’s still improving.

      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.

      It could also be he plays 5 leading up to WJC and 4 after. How does his play change at those 3 different cycles.

      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.

    • piscera.infada

      I agree with you. As you can probably tell by my flip-flopping on this over and over and over, I really have no idea. I guess the easiest way to say it is; I’m not going to be crushed if he gets sent down, and I’m not going to go torching the ‘dome if they decide to keep him. It’s probably best to leave these decisions to the guys who have been around him for the last few months – the guys who take careful note of everything he does.

      I just don’t think you (not meaning “you”, but more the royal “you”) can boil this down to a one issue decision – whether that issue is the ELC year, other prospects being hurt by being rushed, other prospects being hurt by being stuck in the minors, what the Oilers are doing/did, or any other of a plethora of debatable issues. It’s just not that cut and dry.

      I understand this is the most fence-sitting post in the history of fence-sitting, but I’ve been having a hard time with the amount of rigidly conclusive statements written regarding this. I don’t see either situation as the end of the world – if the kid is actually going to be star, he’ll be a star regardless.

      I think the best situation for all parties would be to find a way to make an advanced clone copy of Monahan, play one in the NHL and one in the OHL. That way, we just end up with two Monahan’s.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Two important points:

    1) The situations of keeping Monahan and RNH in the NHL are not at all the same. RNH was thrown in as a 1st line centre and relied upon to be an impact player as a 165lb rookie. Monahan is going to have to prove himself just to get a depth spot behind Stajan and Backlund.

    2) Meritocracy. The player who earns the spot gets the spot. Personally, I think it’s a stupid way to run a team, but if that’s the system you’re using then stick to it, don’t go moving the goal posts on guys who have just done everything you’ve asked of them.

  • McRib

    Its an interesting conversation regarding rushing players by bringing them up too quickly…. I think there is more to it than just being ready or not…. Numerous first rounders every season never pan out, because they just don’t have the Hockey IQ, Speed, Size, or Maturity to ever make it in the NHL…. Timing is not as big of thing for me as just being good enough or not and also working toward getting better wherever you are playing.

    Its funny I actually think the AHL use to ruin players big time, before the 20 year-old rule guys would go in and play in a less skilled, but possibly more physical, hard hitting league and loose all confidence. Daniel Tkaczuk played FOUR years in the OHL and never had what it took, he then proceeded to become a fragment of himself in the AHL for the next couple. My argument would be the Flames may have been wise to play him more in the NHL earlier in his pro career. That ruined him and four years of dominating junior set him up to fail in a league where not many people score.

    If Monahan proves he can play this year or not he is going to be a player his Hockey IQ, Skill Level, Maturity, etc just ooze potential. If he scores a lot back in junior or some at the NHL level, it doesn’t matter for me.

    People are going to jump all over me but look at Mark Scheifele… Winnipeg sent him back after giving him ample opportunity to make the big club last year and he tore up the OHL….. But he has done little in training camp for me from what I’ve seen this year thats any different from last in camp and to be honest I just don’t see it from him. Never think he will be more than a secon liner doesn’t have the positioning or skating. He scored most of this goals because of Junior player mistakes/turnovers, Sean Monahan makes people better… Send him back or not but at the end of the day the only thing that is going to make Sean Monahan into a star is Sean Monahan. After watching Mark Scheifele from this year to last year I just don’t see an improvement… Its not the grooming in junior as much as its the getting better working on your weaknesses, whatever league you played in.

    • SmellOfVictory

      DT had 25 goals and 66 points in 80 games in the AHL, not too shabby. 11 points inhis first 19 NHL games was OK too. However, he then suffered a major concussion and was never the same player again.

  • Rockmorton65

    McGrattan nobody gonna push us a wound!!!! Sounds like Donald Duck!!! Big John Scott and Colten Orr And Frazer McLaren will…..!!! Stajan stated the fight with Sdao you clown! I am a Flame fan that appreciates honest hockey and hockey players…. Not GOONS!!! I wanna watch Monahans and Brodie’!!! If I wanna watch a great white shark circling….behind the play….. Looking for a staged fight I swill go to Sea World!!!

  • Rockmorton65

    I keep hearing the “don’t keep Monahan is he’s only playing 3rd or 4th line minutes” argument. Since we don’t have a definitive top line, what if the plan is to roll 4 lines as evenly as possible? Unfortunately, there is no Iggy or Bouw to play 20+ minutes a night anymore. If this is truly a “see what we’ve got” year, does it not make sense to give everyone the same amount of ice time (relatively speaking of course – McGrattan isn’t going to challenge Cammi for top minutes, lol)

  • Jeff Lebowski


    I’ve been quick to be critical of articles written by you when I found them negative for the sake of being negative. While I don’t agrees with you on the Monahan point I did really enjoy this article. Not that you care but, well written. I also laughed at the little Janko dig…. No thoughts on kanzig sticking around?

  • The Flames and us fans basically have 11 games to determine if Monahan is ready to be an nhl regular; 2 more exhibition and 9 regular season games and then we will have a much better idea. By a regular I mean someone who can play almost every night and in most situations, he can’t be a 5-7 minute a night forward playing with McGrattan and Jackman. In order to do that and allow Monahan to truely develop he needs to play with the right forwards; I for one would like to see him center a line with Cammi and D Jones for the next two exhibition games. This goes to my philosophy of rolling four roughly equal lines who play in almost every situation. Another line Stajin, Stemp and TJG, Backs, Glencross, and Sven, and Horak(or whichever center wins the job), Hudler(I have not heard his name much this preseason) and whoever wins the last job(Bouma, Jackman,Ferland or a converted center). If Monahan can play in this situation and be a player then he should stay, if he struggles in this situation then he needs another year of development.

  • McRib

    Timing is everything life, in business, and in building a contending sports team. I would also add “planning” to timing as being of paramount importance.

    I would argue for continuously rotating 2 prospects in for 5 game stints twice during the season based on merit. This entire year is a “training” year where it makes sense to provide experience to the greatest number of prospects as possible in order to maximize the breadth of roster development and increase the overall calibre of the 25 guys in Abby.

    I sincerely hope the “winning culture” talk subsides..this same misguided mantra left us with a “very good” #6 pick who we like as a nice consolation prize but is still a far cry from the Top 4 elite Franchise player we should have had as a core building block.

    As a result the rebuild will take up to 2 years longer as the team plans (hopefully?) to be in the running for McDavid.

    Regarding Monahan burning a year of arguably your top asset does not make a lot of sense. Give him enough of a taste to let him know how he has to prepare and plan for him to be one of 4 very good to elite players added to the Flames roster each year from the development system.

    In 3 years the team should begin a quick ascendancy to contender. Let’s hope Flames ownerhip, management and fans can be patient enough to let this happen.

  • icedawg_42

    Fighting occurs in the NHL, AHL, and CHL. In some cases, the NHL players respect the rules of fair play and potentia for league suspension. The CHL has players trying to make a name for themselves.

    Comparing Nuge and Monahan is a bit silly. Nuge was built like a school girl, whereas Monahan has put on some pounds ince being drafted.

    If Monahan sticks it out longer than 9 games, it will be playing on the 3rd or 2nd lines, playing about 15 minutes per night (including PP and PP). Will he get challenged to a fight? Probably, assuming they don’t mind taking on someone else instead (or later).

  • Jeff Lebowski

    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?

    And in terms of next year, what will the team look like. Will players like Stempniak and Cammy be here to teach him the tricks they learned to be successful in the NHL.

    Recall Klimchuck’s comments on how he is learning how hard guys like Cammy work:

    Sure there will be some vets but wouldn’t learning from good, offensive players be of great service to him?

    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. Unless of course your thinking is inflexible and probablistic. Meaning an arithmetic mean indicates it is highly unlikely he will be good enough. Because of this send him down now REGARDLESS of what he SHOWS on the ice.

    Now it could be that when others watch him, they can’t see his good ideas. Maybe some people need a corsi stat in order to see how good he is. They just can’t see what’s in front of their faces (I grant that I could be wrong – but look at his play so far? Right now, is he playing well?) Fair point and I’d say send him down too if I didn’t see it.

    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.

    But if in the regular season he can’t handle then send him down. Just let him make that choice for the staff.

    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. There are blowhards on here who think they know well, everything. They don’t know the future.

    The other point about meritocracy and saying, ‘If you do this, Then you will play here’ and then not letting him play because of ELC, essentially that is the very definition of acting in bad faith. This may be a business term some are familiar with.

    Now the kid is 18, his dream is to play in the NHL so he’ll get over it. Maybe. But he has an agent, parents, friends who won’t soon forget when someone is acting in bad faith. These people have an impact.

    As much as you may disagree with the pov, we’ve just seen it with Louis Leblanc’s girlfriend. These things stick. When you say something and don’t do it, it’s bad. Where is Luongo’s head right now?

    Want to blame Feaster for making promsies? Why? Because he said the Flames are rebuilding and going with youth? Just not Monahan’s youth?

    • piscera.infada

      “And in terms of next year, what will the team look like. Will players like Stempniak and Cammy be here to teach him the tricks they learned to be successful in the NHL.”

      That is something I haven’t paid a lot of heed to. There’s also the Monahan training with Cammy angle – so there’s probably some chemistry there, at least personality-wise. If Monahan earns it and you plan on shipping Cammy out at the trade deadline, does it not make at least some sense to allow Monahan to shadow Cammy’s work ethic?

      Feaster was on The Fan this morning, and when Poirier getting sent back was brought up he compared Monahan and Poirier’s offseason conditioning. He said “Poirier still has the conditioning mindset of a CHLer (and there’s nothing wrong with that for an 18 year old), whereas Monahan worked out and trained like an NHLer because he wants it that bad.” While, I’m still hesitant to say “keep him up” based on that alone, it definitely shows a phenomenal amount of maturity. I’m really torn on what management should do with him, but I guess the coaches and management know what it takes to make it in the league more than I do – I hope they make the right decision, for the right reason.

  • Truculence

    I say you keep Wideman around. He is a useful NHL defenseman. He’s good on the PP and still knows how to defend. I know he’s overpayed but he still brings much needed veteran NHL experience to the team and he’s a useful NHL player. I don’t buy into the idea that we should sell every player on the team that’s worth a pinch of salt. It’s important to have capable NHL bodies on the team.

  • Truculence

    Re Wideman. You get 5 or 6 guys that you can commit as your teams core. They are the guys getting North of 5 million per year on long term deals.

    Wideman is a peripheral piece with a core player contract. The length of time left on his deal may make it tough to move him regardless of how he plays.

    That said, GMs get stupid at the deadline so who knows.

  • Truculence

    I don’t think Monahan should necessarily be sent back to the W. I believe he has already exceeded the whl learning curve and would be more or less just spinning his wheels. He seems mentally and physically ready to begin learning at the nhl level. that being said if he falls on his face in the first 9 games send him back but if he grows I say keep him around..

  • Truculence

    Bull-sh!t. How would one be able to discern that those who were supposedly “rushed” into the NHL failed because they needed another year to develop. Maybe they just sucked and lacked the elite skills to succeed in the first place.

    The assertion that players need 4 years in junior to realize their potential is just hilarious hockey dogma -and a little ironic given that this site consistently lauds stats as a foil to traditional hockey thinking (as it should).

    This logic does not simply apply in any other sport. Other sports like soccer and basketball frequently incorporate teens into their teams.

    And let me pre-empt those naysayers that claim those sports are not “physical” by first stating that the NHL isn’t full of 6″2, 210 lb players. Elite players, as we all know, come in all shapes and forms -from the St. Luois and Kane’s of the world, to the Lucic and Hortons.

    Monahan is 6″2, 200lb, and will be turning 19 in October when the season starts. He is physically already there. His hockey sense is formidable. Is a player of his ilk really better served by defending and scoring against 16-19 year olds for fourth time as opposed to learning the ropes playing against professional hockey players? I highly doubt it.

    I would argue it’s better for him to take his bumps this year, so he can be a better NHL player next year, as opposed to a rookie coming in straight from JUNIOR.

    But my overall point is, there is no formula for deciding what is better for a player’s long-term development. And for my exhibit A -just to focus on one recent team’s decisions in this regard -I present the Avalanche: O’reilly, Landeskog, and Duchene (although the latter to a lesser extent) more than held their own and accelerated their learning curves to become top-six forwards in the NHL. In particular, would O’reilly be the player he is at the moment if he played another year in junior? Maybe he wouldn’t have reached this skill and confidence level for another few years, if he hadn’t been thrown to the wolves right away. In other words, Colorado may have gotten more elite years out of O’reilly’s career than they would have if they sent him to junior for another couple of years.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      “This logic does not simply apply in any other sport. Other sports like soccer and basketball frequently incorporate teens into their teams.”

      Hockey is arguably the most aggressive and violent professional sport in the world, and is the only pro sport that accepts fighting as ‘part of the game’. You just shouldn’t put most teens in that kind of environment, when the goal should be overall player development and improvement.

      My personal view is that Monahan will improve with lots of playing time, which he will not get as a 3-4 centre on this team.

      It was brought up a couple of days ago by someone else, but FN was ridiculing the Oilers for rushing all of their young talent (especially RNH). Many of the same commenters are now crying for Monahan to stay in the NHL now. I hope the Flames do the best thing for the player and send him back.

      I do wish that the Flames had the option to send him to Abby though.

  • Bikeit

    All I can think of is when the Flames kept their 1998 (#6) first round selection on the team and not send him back to Junior. Rico Fata. We all know how that turned out. Send Monahan back to Junior for at least this year.

  • the forgotten man

    This morning on the Fan 960, Rhett Warrener said that he thinks he wouldn’t have made it to the NHL if he hadn’t been coming along in Florida when he was. At the time, the team was looking to transition away from the old-timers they got in the dispersal draft and inject some youth. Warrener said if he had been sent back to junior that year and didn’t make the team, he probably never would have made it to the NHL.

    Lambert’s point about players not being ruined by staying in junior or the minors needs to be explored further. I’m not saying he’s wrong, but this kind of a statement seems to reek of confirmation and survivorship biases and it flies in the face of Warrener’s own anecdotal experiences. I haven’t the faintest idea how you could objectively test this notion, but maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to conclude an extra year in junior or the minors doesn’t hurt.

    Of course, this completely ignores the issue of burning a year on an ELC which I agree in Monahan’s case would be a dumb move for the Flames.

    • It’s a very difficult question to answer because a huge portion of players who are returned to junior are never going to make the NHL period. Sifting the potential NHLers from that batch and assigning their failure to going back to junior is pretty much impossible.

      Warrener’s story isn’t really relevant to someone like Monahan – he made the NHL full time in his 21 year old season, although he got a look as a 20 year old the year before but also played in the AHL. So he was pretty much on a natural progression for most kids.

    • RedMan

      I think it is more likely the bubble players that could possibly suffer from the extra years in the juniors/minors… guys like Monahan, who are closer to ‘blue-chip’, i don’t think it would be an issue.

      as for those obsessing about burning 1 year of an ELC, SToP IT!
      if you wait so that you get the best player for the cheapest money during the ELC, maybe you just end up paying more for his first regular non-ELC contract… but if you sign up the ELC and he plays more like a ‘developer’ then a star, maybe the second contract is actually much better…(cheaper) so maybe burning the ELC during early development years is better financially.

      For me there is only one question to consider regarding keeping MonahaN up or sending him down, and that is;
      where will he develop the best and the fastest. (is that two questions?) There whould be no thought given to “will he help the Flames this year?” who cares – do we want the flames to finishe 17th in the league instead of 27th? then yes, worry about whether he helps this year. BUT – will he hurt ihs own or anyone elses development, this is a legit question, but again, the real question is will he benefit the most playing up or down. that’s the real question.

      to hell with the ELC talk – not only is this is way over thinking things, but is is focusing on the WRONG issues!

      • icedawg_42

        completely agree… The ECL talk is bunk.

        If a player is good, he gets paid. Now, later, by us, or by someone else. If a player doesnt’ get good, he doesn’t make a ton.

        I’d be happy to have a problem with his contact being up and he got 80pts and is demanding a huge payday. That would be AWESOME!

        Sort of like people laughing at the Oilers and all their kids getting so much money. Wow, what a problem. Having to find money to pay all you really good players. We sure have bigger problems than that!

        Trying to do some sort of voodoo ECL timing is stupid. Do what is best for the kid, hopefully he is so good we have to back up the truck and pay him silly amounts of money. That would be ideal.

    • piscera.infada

      Let me preface my comment by saying Monhan should go down – and I agree with you and Lambert that it’s entirely likely (barring a freak accident or something) that the incidence of players being “ruined” by being sent down is very, very low.

      That said, I think much of the clamoring for Monahan to stay up is easily justified by the perception of how the Flames have treated prospects in the past. In the last decade or so, we’ve seen so many prospects flounder in the AHL without ever getting a shot in the big leagues (until very recently – last season). So, I think to the lay-fan it’s more about the optics of giving the kids a chance versus the sutter-era ideology of preferring vets. I only hope Flames management isn’t swayed by this opinion, and does what’s right for the player’s development.

      Re: Wideman, if he does prove to be awesome this year and he continues his vocal support of the young guys, I see no reason not to keep him. I doubt you’d get much via trade – obviously if you get something you can’t refuse, then you take it. Everything I’ve heard him say regarding the rebuild has been extremely positive, so barring a change in his demeanor (or, if he’s a really good actor) – you keep him.