WWYDW: Payday(s)?

Look at these two. They are so happy together. Who cares what they want, just sign them both to matching billion dollar contracts. In fact, how about they are co-player coaches for next season?

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that if you are a fan of the Flames at this moment (bless you, hang in there), you are probably a fan of these two gents. Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau are two of the most exciting Flames draft picks in franchise history, and both are only beginning their NHL careers. Huzzah! How fun!

However, they must be paid according to their burgeoning star-power and are both restricted free agents this summer. The Flames are faced with a difficult question: do they try to sign the two as a pair or negotiate separately? We’re going to hash this out and hear what you have to say after the jump!


First off, we can all agree that the Flames want Monahan and Gaudreau to stick around very long term, as the two players represent a core of roughly six players that the Flames are trying to rebuild around. However, the next contracts given to these players represent a very important time for the Flames, as the money allocated to these core players affects the way that the team can build around them.

Also, I would like to point out that I am not terribly fond of people intimating that is it incumbent on either Johnny or Monahan to take less money than they are worth, simply so that the Flames are able to sign players like Joe Colborne and Lance Bouma. Simply put: the best players deserve to be compensated and the Flames have had a poor record of overpaying players for nebulous reasons that have led to the salary cap crunch that they are in for next season.

With that said, let’s get into whether or not the Flames should sign the two of them to matching deals this summer. The obvious answer is: yes! Twelve years at $3.5 million please! Very funny. The crux of the problem is that saying yes to a matching deal for both players means that Monahan will be getting the same amount as Gaudreau, and there is substantial evidence to suggest that Johnny should be getting seriously paid on his next deal.

As was previously referenced in Ari’s Monahan evaluation piece earlier today, here is Monahan’s WOWY chart this season (from the good folks at Corsica). Pay special attention to the section with Johnny Gaudreau and notice the rather sad-looking green balloon near the bottom of the chart:


So, as Ari mentioned in her piece, this isn’t exactly great news for those wanting the Flames to hand the two of them identical long-term big-money deals.  Now, it is important to note that they really didn’t play apart very often and when they did, it is certainly possible that Monahan was called upon to play in a far more defensive role. 

If we take a bit of a closer look at their WOWY information, Monahan’s performance begins to make a little more sense. Here’s a look at their CF%, GF%, OZone% WOWY stats and it’s important to note that Gaudreau and Monahan played 1135:08 together this season, which amounts to roughly 73% of his total ice time for the season. Monahan played apart from Gaudreau for 168:19 mins this season or roughly 11% of his total ice time. So it’s not a lot, but still have look:


As you can see, when Monahan was apart, he did have a lower OZone%, which makes sense intuitively. However, what is a little more difficult to understand is the fact that, according to the info at Sporting Charts, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan finished the season two minutes apart in total TOI (1,552 for Monahan and 1,574 for Gaudreau) and yet, in the 228:04 that Gaudreau spent away from Monahan he scored 15 more points. 

In terms of powerplay time, Gaudreau only spent roughly 20 extra minutes on the powerplay and only scored one more powerplay point. In fact, Monahan scored seven goals to Gaudreau’s six this season with the extra man. So, why is it that Gaudreau was able to produce so much without Monahan? That’s a tough question to answer, but an important one if you are Flames management.


Here’s where the rubber meets the road. How much are they both worth? The conventional wisdom is that if Monahan and Gaudreau are going to sign matching deals, it will likely be good news for Monahan financially. Johnny Gaudreau is coming off of a sophomore season where he scored at essentially a PPG rate the whole season, and led the team in scoring by a considerable margin. 

Gaudreau has cracked the top 10 in scoring from all players drafted in 2011, despite playing a minimum of 51 less games than any one else in the top 10. Moreover, Gaudreau is absolutely electrifying to watch and was an all-star last season, the kind of player you put on billboards and use to sell the team for the next decade. So, what is that worth?

Vladimir Tarasenko scored five points fewer than Johnny in the final year of his entry level deal and scored himself an eight year, $60 million dollar contract and set the standard for what premium young talent can expect. The annual cap hit for Tarasenko’s deal is $7.5 million dollars and for a player like Tarasenko, I believe this is fair value. Where does Johnny fit into this? Does his ask start with $8.5? What do you think?

Sean Monahan isn’t going to be easy to bargain with either. No one drafted in 2013 has more points or goals than Monahan and he has scored over 20 goals in each of his first three seasons in the NHL. That’s hard to do, especially for a player not lauded for his goal scoring coming out of junior. He also plays a premium position and even scored 22 goals as a rookie, without Johnny at all.

However, Monahan hasn’t put up numbers like Tarasenko or Gaudreau and, as has been detailed a number of times on this site by smarter men and women than I, his possession stats are not exactly fantastic. So, if Gaudreau is asking for Tarasenko+ money, is Monahan worth that same amount simply due to his position and reliability? 

Or perhaps you don’t believe that either of these players should get long term deals; maybe you think that, provided the player is amenable, a bridge deal is a better option for the Flames. This is a risky move if both players continue their production and the Flames’ cap situation could go from manageable (after next season that is) to full-blown Don Sweeney pretty quick. 

So let me know what you think should happen in the comments! 

  • PrairieStew

    8 years buys how many UFA years ? I think that you should sign them for a shorter term and be able to supplement the team with other smart signings now. I think the window is in the next 2 or 3 years. How old were Crosby and Malkin, Kane and Toews, Doughty and Kopitar when they won ? Not 29 or 30, but early to mid 20’s. As much as it might hurt to see these guys walk in 5 years, I’m not sure paying $10 + for anyone (either now in long term contract or later as UFA, is wise. )

    St Louis might already regret that Tarasenko deal.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      You can’t pay these guys the same money. Gaudreau is a better and more valuable player than Monahan.
      I do like Monahan but he is not the same level as Gaudreau. 7.5 for Gaudreau and 6.25 for Monahan

  • Greatsave

    I’m afraid some of your numbers are jumbled, Taylor. Specifically, the situational ice times and point productions for each player.

    “Gaudreau and Monahan played 1135:08 together this season…”

    Unless can be otherwise shown, I believe this is actually Monahan’s 5v5 TOI this season. Monahan and Gaudreau actually played 966 5v5 minutes together, which amounts to 85% of Monahan’s 5v5 TOI and 81% of Gaudreau’s.

    “… and yet, in the 228:04 that Gaudreau spent away from Monahan he scored 15 more points.”

    In the 228 5v5 minutes that Gaudreau spent away from Monahan, he actually only scored 5 points. Gaudreau scored 40 5v5 points with Monahan, 5 without; 21 PP points, 1 4v4; 3 with opposing goalie pulled, and 8 3v3 (OT in other words). Monahan scored 3 5v5 points away from Gaudreau; he lags behind mostly at 3v3 (6 pts), and also 5v5 with Gaudreau (also 6 pts).

  • freethe flames

    Tarasenko money for Johnny $7.5 but the Monny money will be interesting; will his contract set the bar for Mckinnon or the other way around. Ideally no more than $6.5.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Johnny explicitly said he’s in favour of identical contracts with Monahan. I personally think agents care way more about that last 500k or million dollars a year than players do, in most cases.

      If JG does want identical contracts, though, he should expect a pay cut from market value, and I’m sure he’d realize that fact given his production versus Monahan’s. In either case, they both seem like good dudes and I’m hopeful that means they’ll both be willing to take good value contracts that benefit the Flames as much as the players (something between 6-7 million).

      • Parallex

        You realize that you are effectively saying that the Jim Benning rate is the NHL rate right? Personally I think that more then validates taking Nylander.

        I think this trade means that the Canucks don’t want the D’men available this draft so they traded for a young so that the could use the pick on a forward.

        • McRib

          Dear Brad,

          Please call the Canucks and Bruins on a daily basis. I’m glad that Baerschi trade looks alright from Canucks standards (I actually like Andersson more long term), but this is how you get people into a ponzi scheme, make the first trade look good, then bleed them dry.

      • everton fc

        Personally, I’m more and more interested in Chycrhun, if he’s available at #6, which he should be.

        But we could probably trade down to get Chychrun a couple of picks later…

        • supra steve

          First, you would need to find a trade partner willing to make trading back worth the risk you’re taking. Second, you need to be certain that (one of) your guy(s) will still be available at your new draft position.

          Worth the risk? Probably not, unless there are multiple players you would be happy getting at your new draft spot. Since it sounds like the Flames have three players on their second ledge, I doubt that they take the risk of trading back.

          • everton fc

            Yes, agreed on point #1

            Point #2 – wondering who else would be in those 8-13 spots…

            Tkachuk’s play in the Memorial Cup may push him up a spot, or two… Does this make Dubois available at #6? (Seems Nylander will be that guy at #6… I’d consider Chycrhun over Nylander, though. I think he’ll be a 2-3 defender by the time he’s Hamilton’s age…)

          • supra steve

            I just couldn’t bring myself to pick a Nylander. I don’t know a lot about the kid, but I have read some stuff that confirms my suspicions that he is a risk to disappear when the going gets tough. I would not be at all surprised if there were many in the Flames organization that feel the same, BB for one.

            If a D-man goes before the Flames pick at 6, then yes, there will be other options at forward with that pick. If not, then the Flames favorite D would be good too. A 2-3 defender would be fine, but there’s always the chance that guy turns into more. I have no favorite, I trust the Flames to make their best guess on who is the most valuable option…even if they decide it’s Nylander, which they WON’T. 🙂

          • everton fc

            Agreed. I can’t see us picking Nylander. I can see us picking Chychurn, if Tkachuk is off the board. Comparisons to Ekbald, including a few saying he’s farther on than Ekblad, at the same age… How can they not be hoping Chychrun’s around at #6?

          • Baalzamon

            confirms my suspicions that he is a risk to disappear when the going gets tough.

            And yet, he had 2 points per game in the playoffs. Against a vastly superior team.

            Nylander was the only reason that series wasn’t a sweep.

          • supra steve

            Sven was a 2 point per game guy in Jr too. I know he has a lot of skill, his old man had a lot too, but he was a constant frustration as a Flame. I can’t see them picking Nylander at #6, not with other options waiting to be selected. That’s my opinion, time will tell.

          • cberg

            IF the Flames take a D they should be looking at Sergachov as their first pick. Better scorer, better size, better nasty…. its a no-brainer except for the pro-Canada boisterisms….

    • McRib

      What a horrific trade by Vancouver, Gudbranson is strictly a third pairing stay-at-home defender. He is beyond over hyped because of where he was drafted, but back in 2010 most saw that as a major draft day reach by Florida. Most never viewed him as even a Top.15 pick (outside of the outdated truculence scouting crowd) Jared McCann is only 20 years old and has the potential to be a decent second line centre (great third liner).

      Plus they give up a high second rounder? In a year where picking 26 is essentially the same as picking 50. Wow, don’t mean to lay it on Canuck’s, but this is so unbelievably bad. Honestly Canuck’s homers are saying “we have centre depth to make this trade” Bo Horvat had a mediocre year last season, McCann could easily end up as the better of the two. All WOWY figures during Bo Horvats draft year said Max Domi was elevating Bo Horvats point totals. McCann is such a modern day high possession centre in the making everyone is looking to find, a fantastic skater that makes smart decisions.

      Vancouver is getting “tougher” at a major downgrade of skill. They did the same thing with the Bonino-Sutter trade make the trade even worse by also sending a random pick alongside the best asset.

      Just awful stuff, not trying to lay it on the Canucks fans, but this is the worst move by Benning so far. Which is saying something.

      • cberg

        This is very close to the same value the Flames had to pay for Hamilton. A bit less because of pts differences, but Gudbranson brings toughness and probably better actual defence, both of which the Flames are still short of. Everything is not scoring, its net scoring.

        I think its a great deal for the Canucks.

        • Baalzamon

          but Gudbranson brings toughness and probably better actual defence

          You only think that because he’s big and physical. Gudbranson is a preposterously overrated player, and it’s because people refuse to believe that a big defenseman who hits people isn’t good.

          This is far more similar to the Griffin Reinhart trade than the Hamilton one.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            Gudbranson is a good stay at home dman on a great contract and is tough as nails. Something Calgary is sorely missing on the back end is toughness, with the exception of Engelland, and Giordano once in a while.

    • deantheraven

      Doesn’t matter now who won that deal. Point is the Canucks got bigger & meaner on the blue line. All it does is play into Burke’s #truculence+size theory. Maybe now Poirer, Hathaway, have a better chance at making the team next season, and the 6th draft pick goes for a big forward like Tkachuk if they can get him, or deal to move up and get him.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Canucks again with a questionable trade. Good stuff! I actually see Edmonton as a much greater future competitive threat than that sad-sack organization.

    • McRib

      I am honesty starting to worry about Winnipeg more than Edmonton. Laine, Connor, Scheifele, Ehlers, Wheeler, Byfuglien, Trouba, Myers, Little, Hellebuyck, Morrissey, Petan, etc. I’d probably even take Laine, Connor, Scheifele, Ehlers, Wheeler alone over any of Edmontons top five forwards. Then throw in the fact that Edmonton also has nowhere near the defensive pieces or forward depth Winnipeg does. It becomes a no brainer rather quickly.

      I mean even Laine (1. 2 PPG) out produced McDavid (0.90 PPG) at the World Championships, so even if you think McDavid is better than Laine (Who’s more valuable to a team in the Playoffs Crosby or Kopitar?) Winnipeg still clearly has the next two best forwards. Scheifele (0.86 PPG) > Hall (0.79 PPG) Scheifele outscored Hall last year in NHL and at World Championshisp and is a much much smarter person with far less injury problems. Connor (63.8 NHLE +1) > Draisaitl (40.7 NHLE +1) No brainer for me that it will be Connor or a wash worse case. Ehlers (37.9 NHLE Draft Year) = RNH (37.8 NHLE Draft Year) are basically the same then you throw in fact that RNH is constantly injured. I’d rather Wheeler anyday over Eberle by a mile….Then Winnipeg runs away with Byfuglien, Trouba, Myers every time.

      Nurse and Morrissey are different pieces, but both should still end up as fairly effective 2-3 defenders. The Power Play is becoming more and more valuable in the Playoffs with less scoring something Morrissey was better at in Junior. Talbot = Hellebuyck. Little is a highly effective energy line forward, something Edmonton is missing.

      Honestly even if you are the most biased Oilers fan in the world you would have a hard time saying Edmonton’s future is brighter, after this. But even if you think the Top. 4-5 forwards are a wash, no way can you justify Byfuglien, Trouba, Myers, Morrissey being weaker then Nurse, Klefbom….. I can’t even!!! Not to mention Edmonton likely has to trade Eberle to get their first top three defender this summer, something Winnipeg already has three of.

      • freethe flames

        I agree with you; fortunately they play in the central. Rather than spending time comparing them to Edmonton we should be comparing them to the Flames. Unfortunately I would suggest that after the draft I like where the Jets are upfront more than where we are; we can argue that our top 3 forwards and theirs may be a wash but after that they probably have the edge. Unless we add someone this off season we have a lot of work to do.

      • Nick24

        As much as we all love to pile on the Oilers; lets be real for a second. It’s flat out wrong to think that there is an asset in Pro Hockey better than McDavid. He’s already one of the best players in the NHL, and if he were available in this draft he would still be going ahead of Laine. Laine is not going to be anything like Kopitar. Liane is a scoring winger, not a two-way center. Maybe he turns into a player like Hossa, or Nash, but not Kopitar.
        Mark Scheifele is a very good center, but are you really suggesting he’s in the same tier as Taylor Hall? Taylor Hall is one of the two or three best left wingers in the NHL.
        It seems pretty easy to see that the Oilers have a better forward group than the Jets.
        Obviously the Jets have their backend together in a pretty meaningful way, but outside of Sheifele and maybe Wheeler the Jets don’t have the same level as skill the Oilers have in McDacid, Hall, and RNH.

        The Jets are still a very good team, and likely will be for a while, but I just don’t think people realize how good those top few forwards on the Oilers really are.

        And come on, you have to take some points away from the Jets for their insistence on playing Pavelec in goal, right?

        • McRib

          McDavid was no where close to being as good as Laine at the World Championships, facts are facts I watched the tournament extensively. Why would I say a Finnish player was better than a Canadian. If it wasn’t true? Laine won MVP of the tournament. McDavid might not have even been Canada’s best player. I showed the statistics to back it up.

          All I am trying to say is they are both top talents the difference in their talents is negligible. I mean you can buy into the TSN Southern Ontario hype on McDavid all you want, he isn’t going to be a Gretzky type of dominant. I don’t think we will see another player in history who is so far ahead of the next closest player. He’ll be a regular Top. 5-10 scorer in the league for the next decade, so will Laine (plus Laine’s size plays better in the playoffs). Who is a better player Crosby of Toews? Obviously Crosby. Now who has more Stanley Cups and Conn Smythe’s. I mean the only Stanley Cup Crosby won Malkin was a far more effective player taking home Conn Smythe. McDavid is going to be a world class player, but he isn’t going to score 20+ more points every season than Laine. Some years he will out score Laine and some years Laine may even out score McDavid. McDavid, Matthews, Echel, Laine are all going to be in the Top. 5 of league scoring consistently for the next decade in a couple of years the difference is negligible. If Matthews was Canadian he would have the same hype as McDavid. Once again Matthews had the same points as McDavid at recent World Championships.

          Scheifele out produced Hall last year all year in multiple aspects (NHL, World Championships). You obviously didn’t watch Winnipeg down the stretch Scheifele was dominant. Hall is physically more talented, but he has no where close to the Hockey IQ (see Hall running himself into the boards every year going a million miles an hour, injuring himself. I’ve met Hall numerous times he ain’t a smart dude, which would be an understatement).

          I mean RNH just needs to stay healthy before I buy into fact he is better than Ehlers, as I pointed out their point totals were identical their draft years. I’m totally fine saying Edmonton’s young forwards are as good as Winnipegs, I think it would be a stretch to say more then that. But like I said the conversation ends at defense and forward/prospect depth between the two.

          “And come on, you have to take some points away from the Jets for their insistence on playing Pavelec in goal, right?”

          Winnipeg was playing Pavelec to tank he will be bought out this summer or next when the rest of these young players show they are ready to take team to playoffs. Winnipeg knows Hellebuyck is the guy going forward.

          • Nick24

            Let’s keep in mind the World Championships are a short and pretty irrelevant tournament in the grand scheme of the hockey world. A glance at Team USA would make that pretty evident. I mean it’s always nice to do well at those kinds of tournaments, but it takes more than one tournament to be an impact NHL player.

            As I said, Scheifele is a very good player and yes, at times he was dominant. I just feel like it’s too early to say he’s better than Hall if you’re only looking at this past season. Maybe Scheifele will be better than Hall, but right now that’s just not true. Hall just generates more offense. Look at his Ppoints/60 and shot generation and it’s pretty clear that Hall blows him out of the water.

            Laine won’t out score McDavid in the NHL next year, let alone out pace McDavid’s rookie numbers. Matthews and Laine are very, very good but they’re not going to be McDavid. Who knows, maybe their seperation will be negligible but until we see what they can do in the NHL McDavid is still the better player. Also, are you serious with the size and playoff ability correlation? Logan Coture is the leading scorer in the playoffs and is 6’1( not overly big by any means), second is Joe Pavelski and he’s what, 5’11? Kucherov is top 5 in scoring and he’s about as big a Pavelski. Being big does not make you good. Heck, Johnny Gaudreau is our best forward and he’s obviously not vertically inclined.

            You can look at Ehlers’ NHLE but it doesn’t make sense to use RNH’s NHLE. He was drafted in 2011, and is very good NHLer now. His NHLE may be good for comparisons sake, but RNH is too far removed from junior for his NHLE to be indicative of his current abilities. Ehlers has promising numbers, but ypi can’t look at his NHLE as the reason for him being a better player.

            As you said, the Jets have their defense together and have had some encouraging showings from both Hellebyuck and Comrie. It’d be good if they think Pavelec is the shooter toutor that he is, but we’ll see. The Jets are in a far better place than the Oilers, I won’t argue that, but I think you need to give the Oilers credit, because if there’s one thing they have its high end forwards.

        • cberg

          Keep drinking the cool-aid! If the Oilers do they’ll continue to refuse to deal with their real issues while squandering oh so many potentially great players….