Aleksander Barkov just got himself a nice little pay day and it's well deserved. TSN on Twitter has the reported deal at 6 years for $35.4 million dollars:
Panthers, Aleksander Barkov agree on six-year, $35.4M deal. MORE: https://t.co/h4FHfIJYjV pic.twitter.com/AtPiQ8yGtX— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 25, 2016
The reason this deal links to Sean Monahan is that they're both similar players, from the same draft class and Monahan's rookie contract is up at the end of this season. I'm not a GM, so I won't throw $ numbers around here. What I will do is put both players side by side and make the argument that Monahan is just as valuable to the Flames as Barkov is to the Panthers.
Barkrov is in the final year of his entry level deal of $925,000 a year which he signed before the 2014-15 season. He has a bonus each season of $2.65 million. Monahan has the same entry level contract of $925,000 with $850,000 in bonuses. Both Barkov and Monahan count as a cap hit of $925,000 to their respective teams (per rotoworld.com). Here's some of their stat lines from this season and the prior 2 regular seasons:
|Sean Monahan (21 yo)||Aleksander Barkov (20 yo)|
|Draft: 2013 #6||Draft: 2013 #2|
|+/-||-6 (avg)||-4 (avg)|
If you look at the small sample size of the two, Monahan is clearly worth the same kind of deal that Barkov just received. Yes, Monahan is slumping a bit this season, but the only 2 areas Barkov is out playing him this season are hits and +/- and the latter is a function of team play. So just by the stat lines above, Monahan is easily worth the same kind of deal Barkov is going to get. They're both similar in age, stats and are both top line centers. They also are similar in FO% as well. Monahan's is 49.7% so far this season and Barkov clocks in at a even 48%.
The hard part for Calgary is deciding how much to give Monahan when they have other free agent issues to address. Backlund, Brodie, Frolik, Gaudreau, Ramo, Hudler, Hiller and Russell are all due for new deals. Obviously not all of them will be back (Hudler, Hiller?) and some will be getting big pay days as well (Gaudreau), but the Flames should sink a good chunk of change into Monahan and keep their top line center and young Associate Captain in Calgary for the long haul. I'd be willing to bet that this year is an aberration for Monahan and the long term benefits will outweigh any slumping he's going through this season. The again, I'm not a GM, so what do I know?
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