Sean Monahan is perhaps the player most likely to be chosen by the Flames with the sixth overall pick for three reasons: he's big, he's versatile and he's a centre.
Monahan is six foot two, weighs 187 pounds, and is described as a "smart two-way player." If that doesn't fit the Flames' bill, then I don't know what does.
Monahan collected 31 goals and 78 points in 58 games for the Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League this past season, the same league that gave the Flames the likes of TJ Brodie, Mark Giordano and, uhhh...Greg Nemisz.
The 18-year-old forward saw his totals increase by an astounding thirty points in his second season in the O, and he remained consistent in 2012-13, scoring the exact same number of points in four fewer games with the 67s, who finished last in the league with just 16 wins and 38 points in 68 games.
All things considered, it was a bit of a rough season for Monahan; he missed 10 games due to a suspension for this hit to the head of Plymouth Whalers captain Colin MacDonald, and was cut from the Canadian national junior team selection camp just a few weeks later.
But Canadian coach Steve Sprott praised Monahan back in December (via CBC Sports):
"He has elite hockey sense...He is just one of those players who can play in any situation - 5-on-5, 5-on-4, on your [penalty kill]. Sean has that innate ability. He is going to be an elite NHL player. There is no doubt about that."
Since then, there has been some debate about where Monahan will be taken in this year's draft, but the consensus seems to be that he will indeed go in the top 10. He injured his back at the end of the season and wowed many by scoring two goals in the next game when he wasn't even expected to play, and the 67s had long since been eliminated from post-season contention. Central Scouting has him ranking fifth overall of all North American skaters, while Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman has him ranked seventh, but doesn't see him becoming a "star" in the NHL:
Monahan is a smart two-way player who has shined in the OHL over the past two seasons. His ability as an offensive playmaker is high end, as he has tremendous instincts, displaying the ability to make quality passes. Monahan regularly shows the ability to slow the game down. He controls play from the perimeter on the power play. He is patient, creative, and he does not simply rely on one dimension, either. He has good puck skills...Monahan possesses good size (in order to shoulder off checks). If defenders try to overplay the pass, he has a great shot, and he can finish from medium range if given the chance. His skating is fairly average...Monahan projects as a quality defensive center, capable of winning faceoffs consistently. He does not have a clear developmental weakness in his game...
...Sean Monahan, ranked seventh, has some dynamic qualities, but he is not elite enough in one particular area to project as a star. He could be an average top-line center. That still makes him valuable, but his lack of multiple top-end skills holds him back from belonging in the same tier as (Elias) Lindholm and above.
According to Red Line Report (via Dallas Stars Inside Edge), the fact that this year's draft is so deep has perhaps forced Monahan down slightly in the rankings:
He is gifted enough that in most years he would be a top three overall pick. Has all the tools you look for in a legitimate #1 centre: excellent size, a smooth, deceptive stride, great stickhandling skills, and tremendous creativity and passing touch.
The lowest I have seen Monahan ranked so far is eighth overall, which means that it's likely he will still be around by the time the Flames take to the podium. He definitely seems to be the safe choice for a rebuilding team like the Flames looking for a more mature player who requires little in the way of development and can probably step into NHL action within a year or two.