Nathan MacKinnon. Mark Scheifele. Sean Monahan.
All three of these players are coming out of their entry level contracts and only Monahan remains unsigned. All three are key pieces for their respective teams' futures. All three are centers, came up through the CHL, and are in the same age range with MacKinnon at 20, Monahan at 21, and Scheifele at 23.
So after seeing that MacKinnon had signed a 7 year 44.1 million dollar contract (6.3 AAV) with the Colorado Avalanche and Scheifele inking an 8 year 49 million dollar contract (6.125 AAV) with the Winnipeg Jets I had to wonder, "do these signings answer the Monahan contract question?"
Looking at the counting stats the three players are fairly close as well. Nathan MacKinnon has 218 NHL regular season games played and has managed to rack up 59 goals 94 assists for 153 points. Mark Scheifele comes with 227 games played scoring 58 goals and 87 assists for 145 points in that span. Sean Monahan has already played 237 games and has 80 goals and 79 assists for 159 points.
Points per game wise that puts MacKinnon in the lead with 0.7 P/G, Monahan second with 0.67, and Scheifele trailing with 0.64. To say that these three players are in a class of their own at this stage in their careers would be a bit of an understatement. The sake of being thorough I'd like to turn your attention to Own The Puck's HERO charts and offer a head to head comparison of each signed player to Monahan.
A mouse could starve on the difference. Over the last three seasons, the entirety of each players' NHL careers the two are actually pretty close in ability. While MacKinnon is the better playmaker, Monahan isn't too far behind. On the defensive side, Monahan is a little bit better in the shot suppression department than MacKinnon but MacKinnon has the decided advantage of being a year younger.
Mark Scheifele, as well, is pretty darn close to Monahan. There is almost no discernable difference between the two aside from the 2 year age gap. His age gives him the benefit of playing more years in junior after signing his entry level deal which likely contributes to his advantage in defensive ability but it would not surprise me in the least to see Monahan put up similar numbers at the same age.
For fun, let's look at a MacKinnon and Scheifele comparison using the fancy charts!
These three players are so close over their careers so far it's almost disturbing. However, given the ages of these three players I believe that Monahan's contract will fall somewhere in the middle. He'll likely get paid marginally more than Scheifele but he will also likely have to give up at least one UFA year, which is something MacKinnon won't have to do with his shorter higher paying contract. So after all of this speculation, I'm left wondering, "do these signings answer the Monahan contract question?" I'm still not sure if they do but these two players' deals certainly make the image a lot less murky.