How Good is Sean Monahan?

When he was drafted in 2013, Sean Monahan was the Flames’ highest pick since the team selected Rico Fata at sixth overall in 1998. He was also symbolic of the organization’s fresh commitment to the post-Iginla rebuild.

There was also little doubt that Monahan would be picked by the Flames at the time. The club searched in vain for a prototypical top-line centre for nearly Iginla’s entire tenure in Calgary (Olli Jokinen doesn’t count), so it was a no-brainer when the 6’3, 200 pound pivot fell to them at sixth. 

Of course, at the time no one was sure just what Monahan’s upside would be. While he was roundly considered one of the safest first round picks available, there was a sense that he might not have the highest offensive ceiling. One of the older picks available in 2013, Monahan’s two-way game was mature but his output was relatively modest compared to other top-10 picks (78 points in 58 games). 

Surprise! In reality, Monahan has become a lethal goal scoring threat in the NHL. In fact, he’s arguably been the best sniper under 22 in the league the last few seasons. Sound farfetched? Let’s check the numbers.  

The Making of Sean MoneyHands

Sean Monahan has scored more goals than every other player drafted in 2013. In fact, his 80 goals is 21 more than second place (Nathan MacKinnon).

– Monahan’s 159 points is also the best of any 2013 draftee. In fact, of 2012 drafted players, only Alex Galchenyuk has more points (160). 

– Only nine players have scored more than Monahan’s 159 points in their first three years in the league since 2003-04 (if we narrow the list down to guys who started at 18/19). All of them are superstars.

– Monahan’s 0.67 point-per-game pace is better than Phil Kessel (0.57), Tyler Seguin (0.60), Claude Giroux (0.61) and Jamie Benn (0.64) at the same age.

– Monahan’s 159 points are tied as the 10th best first three-season total in Flames franchise history with Dion Phaneuf.

Conclusion

So it’s safe to say Monahan is going to work out better than Rico Fata. Although he won’t turn 22 until this October, Monahan is already an NHL veteran, one of the team’s leaders and poised to get big, fat pay day this summer. Oh, and one of Johnny Gaudreau’s best friends, which might convince the two stars to sign long-term deals for a bit of discount (fingers crossed). 

How Good is…?

  • OKG

    He’s a good #1B center. Same class as Jeff Carter and David Backes. Similar young group as Mark Scheifele and Ryan Johansen. Might even be gaining on Tyler Seguin.

    IMO Not close to the same class as true #1C like Kopitar, Bergeron, Toews, Getzlaf despite similar-looking boxcar stats.

    Luckily we have Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski as well, so Monahan can focus on just being the best he can be, not carrying the team on his back.

    • Thunder1

      Better plus/minus than both Kopitar and Bergeron over their first three seasons in the show. Getzlaf is the only one of your centers that showed improved point production over each of his first three seasons like Monahan has done. IMO, your opinion, sells Monahan short… He’s a #1C all day, every day on two thirds of the teams in the NHL right now. If you don’t think so, then show me 10 better.

      • OKG

        First of all Monahan’s +/- is relatively inflated (not that it’s a good statistic). He’s played a ton with Gaudreau/Brodie/Giordano) while those guys did not at those ages.

        Just ten? Well Datsyuk is retired so… that’s still pretty easy:

        Bergeron
        Malkin
        Crosby
        Getzlaf
        Kopitar
        Toews
        Giroux
        McDavid
        Thornton
        Henrik Sedin

        Ten more?

        Tavares
        Johnson
        Stamkos
        Barkov
        Kuznetsov
        Spezza
        Seguin
        Stastny
        Krejci
        ROR

        (Arguably) ten more?
        Johansen
        Kesler
        Backstrom
        Carter
        Couture
        Zajac
        Backes
        Turris
        Scheifele
        Draisaitl

        (Arguably) ten more (if not now, then pretty soon)?
        Eichel
        Larkin
        Jenner
        Auston Matthews
        Nugent-Hopkins
        MacKinnon
        Zetterberg
        Galchenyuk
        Dylan Strome
        Sam Bennett

        Don’t respond with goals and assists if you’ve never watched these guys play. I could score 20 goals getting tap-ins from Gaudreau. Respond with something meaningful if you have it as I’m open for discussion. Playing center is a two-way proposition. At this point I’m still waiting for Monahan to catch up to his teammate Backlund in terms of two-way play. My list doesn’t even include arguable veteran #1A/1B guys like Stepan, Brassard, Koivu, Little, Henrique, Kadri and Dubinsky. My list doesn’t include question-mark young guys like Fabbri, Faksa, Willie Nylander Pierre-Luc Dubois who themselves ooze upside. My list does not include good centers who play wing like Pavelski and Benn.

        • MontanaMan

          I don’t necessarily agree with the tiers of centres that you put Monahan behind but I do agree with your assessment criteria. Monahan always impresses with his soft hands around the net but I am concerned with his foot speed and defensive zone coverage. In comparison to your list, Monahan exceeds most in points but trails in a 200 foot game. I’m one for being patient but I’m not ready to anoint him as a bonafide #1 centre just yet.

          • oddclod

            Well said.

            He’s not fast, but knows his spots. To me, he’s like Ron Francis. Major counting stats but -10.

            He won’t kill you with speed.
            He won’t dangle you.
            He simply quietly finds the scorecard repeatedly.
            Of course Monny won’t be fifth all time. Different era.

            All I wish for him is he finds his 200ft game so I can see him go deep into the playoffs and also watch him in a future Olympics. If he doesn’t get it sorted, there are plenty of quality 1st line NHL centres with defensive acumen to fill the 4th line on the big team. For team Canada, I just don’t see him topping Crosby, Towes, McDavid, leaving one spot to fill.

            That said he’s been a beast in the offseason so if he’s a career workout nut like Iginla, there’s always a chance. I never thought Iggy would have such a career. He seemed so sluggish compared to the rest of the pack. 600 goals later I stand corrected.

        • You’re trying to compare apples to oranges here:

          1. Matthews hasn’t even played a game in the NHL.
          2. You provide no criteria for your argument on how you’re evaluating talent.

          How do you come to these conclusions? What is your assessment criteria? What are you using to make these assesments?
          are you looking at PPG? are you looking at defensive stats? Are you looking at shot stats? What are you using to make such an assessment.

          Because Kent’s whole article is based on PPG based on first 3 seasons say roughly 150+ games played in the first 3 seasons.

          The point being Monahan’s first 3 seasons in PPG over 200+ games has him tied for 5th in the league. That’s pretty freaking good for 21 year old. And by all rights makes him a true #1C.

          now if you wanna argue that his CA/60 and his relative posession stats drop him down a peg. Then, we can have discussion about that and that’s a fair knock to Monahan’s great offensive production.

          • Greatsave

            Count again:

            Bergeron Malkin Crosby Getzlaf Kopitar Toews Giroux McDavid Thornton Sedin

            And I have no idea where you’re getting this Giroux thing from. He has the second most face-off wins this season, behind only Bergeron.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      One day soon you’re gonna either look like a hockey genius or a completely misguided with your love of Jankowski. For what it’s worth I hope your right about Jankowski, but I’m not holding my breath.

      • SmellOfVictory

        I think that’s why a vocal minority have latched so hard onto Jankowski; he looks toolsy (immediate Colborne flashbacks) and if they’re right, they look like clairvoyants

        • Burnward

          As opposed to the vocal majority who decried him as the biggest bust ever without even seeing him skate once?

          There’s plenty that need to die on that hill too.

          • Todd Button and his staff also drafted Granlund, Sieloff, Hunter Smith, and Keegan Kanzig. Please. They get it wrong sometimes too. Don’t put your house and saving On Janko being your definition of #1c.
            Monhan scores at a clip above Tavarez. That’s pretty 1c to me the only thing that holds him back is CORSI # which I think is more a product of Hartley’s System and ask/assignments for Monahan tbh. But we’ll see now that we get a new coach.

          • Greatsave

            Do you want to present some numbers? I’m curious what metrics you’re using.

            Tavares scored 0.66 PPG as a rookie, 0.85 PPG as a sophomore, and has been 0.90 or better ever since, in every single season.

            Monahan was 0.45 PPG, 0.77, and 0.78 over his three seasons.

            I don’t know where this “Monhan [sic] scores at a clip above Tavarez [sic]” comes from.

          • Greatsave

            Do you want to present some numbers? I’m curious what metrics you’re using.

            Tavares scored 0.66 PPG as a rookie, 0.85 as a sophomore, and has been 0.90 or better in every single season since.

            Monahan has scored 0.45 PPG, 0.77, and 0.78 in his three seasons. I don’t know where you get this “Monhan [sic] scores at a clip above Tavarez [sic]” thing from.

          • Greatsave

            Do you want to present some numbers? I’m curious what metrics you’re using.

            Tavares scored 0.66 PPG as a rookie, 0.85 as a sophomore, and has been 0.90 or better in every single season since.

            Monahan has scored 0.45 PPG, 0.77, and 0.78 in his three seasons. I don’t know where you get this “Monhan [sic] scores at a clip above Tavarez [sic]” thing from.

          • Greatsave

            Do you want to present some numbers? I’m curious what metrics you’re using.

            Tavares scored 0.66 PPG as a rookie, 0.85 as a sophomore, and has been 0.90 or better in every single season since.

            Monahan has scored 0.45 PPG, 0.77, and 0.78 in his three seasons. I don’t know where you get this “Monhan [sic] scores at a clip above Tavarez [sic]” thing from.

          • Greatsave

            Do you want to share some numbers? Here’s what I found:

            Monahan scored 0.45, 0.77, and 0.78 PPG through three seasons.

            Tavares scored 0.66, 0.85, and 0.99 PPG through his first three seasons. His most recent three? 1.12, 1.05, 0.90.

            I don’t know where this “Monhan [sic] scores at a clip above Tavarez [sic]” thing came from, but it is simply false.

  • Stu Cazz

    How good is Monahan….5 years $35M. He will have plenty opportunity within the 5 years to prove he can lead Flames to a championship. If so his next contract will be bigger. Ditto Johnny…unless they can prove a championship they will not get the $8M per season many have said….

  • The Fall

    You guys are fucked. I don’t get the 1B, 1C… Some asshat already saying Bennett is up on Monahan. The Gus barely old enough to drink and he’s puttin up numbers and passing the eye test. He’s better in every stat year after year while facing tougher competition. He’s not Crosby but he’s the best draft pick from (most) of the past five years. Everyone who says different is wrong.

  • brodiegio4life

    how many draft picks, regardless of draft position start their careers at 18/19 with 3 straight seasons of at least 20 goals, a 30 goal season, and 2 60 point seasons?

  • Greatsave

    Do you want to present some numbers? I’m curious what metrics you’re using.

    Tavares scored 0.66 PPG as a rookie, 0.85 as a sophomore, and has been 0.90 or better in every single season since.

    Monahan has scored 0.45 PPG, 0.77, and 0.78 in his three seasons. I don’t know where you get this “Monhan [sic] scores at a clip above Tavarez [sic]” thing from.