23-Year-Old Center – Calgary Flames
Sean Monahan Contract Information:
Signed a seven-year, $44.1 million contract extension with the Flames in August of 2016.
Monahan buried his fifth goal of the season and put seven shots on net in a 4-2 loss to Minnesota on Saturday.
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Sean Monahan: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After two nearly identical campaigns with point totals in the low 60s, Monahanís comfortably ensconced as a reliable NHL performer, but this could be the year that 2013ís No. 6 overall pick takes a giant leap forward. Heís still the top-line center in Calgary, meaning he retains the pleasure of making magic on offense with Johnny Gaudreau, and at the tender age of 21, Monahan is still reaching for his eventual ceiling. With the Flames likely to see significant improvement in net this year thanks to the presence of reliable veteran Brian Elliott, Monahan should see his rating spike back into positive territory, and stronger goaltending can lead to increased offense as well. There arenít enough superlatives for his shooting, his playmaking and his grit, and the team context may finally be right for those attributes to propel Monahan to full-on stardom.
Monahan is one of the NHLís rising young stars. Much like Jonathan Toews at a similar age, the 20-year-old is wise beyond his years. His vision is already elite and his unconventional shooting style -- he opens up square to the net and fires lasers, rather than transferring his weight from foot to foot -- makes his shot quick and his release hard to read. Monahan is also not one to sift around on the perimeter -- he's more than willing to go into the dirty areas to make plays. In fact, thatís where he pots most of his goals. His chemistry with Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler is like putting a flame to hydrogen, and that trio will be back together again for 2015-16. Just donít expect a production leap like we saw between years one and two -- this season will be about consolidation and refinement.
Monahan's rookie campaign started about as well as possible, as the 18-year-old rookie raced to nine points in his first eight games. He cooled off considerably, but still ended up with 22 goals and 12 assists in 75 games -- quite the feat for a player his age. Monahan should only get better as he gets more experience, and the sky is the limit for the 19-year-old center. While the Flames may continue to bring him on slowly and start him on the third line to begin the season, it would be surprising not to see him in the top six by season's end.
The Flames' No. 1 pick has all the tools to make it to the NHL in relatively short time, as he can do everything on the ice. He burned up the OHL last season as one of its leading scorers and should make some noise again this season. Monahan isn't likely to see much time in Calgary this season -- as much as fans would like him to -- as he could use another season to refine his game. But stranger things have happened. We'll know more after the first nine games of the year. That's his "free" audition period before the Flames burn a year of eligibility with him. He might be too good to send back, particularly with the desperation the Flames have for offense.