Sean Monahan (Centre) - Midseason Grade: C+
Our Individual Grades
Like the rest of the Flames, it was a difficult start to the season for Monahan, but things finally started to click around the midpoint of the season and he caught fire. Monahan had only 22 points in the first 41 games of the regular season, but finished very strong with 36 points in the final 41 games. He then went on to score four goals in four playoff games. He may not be a big playmaker, but he knows where he needs to be to score. If he could become more physical defensively, then he could be the perfect package, but he’s still young and developing so it could come later.
If I was just grading Monahan’s first 20 or so games of the year, he would get an F. After missing training camp due to a back injury, he really took awhile to get going. Some of the more reactive people started clamouring for him to be traded, calling his contract a bust, all that good stuff. Unsurprisingly, Monahan had completely turned things around and ended up having another very productive season. While he is not a perfect player, you have to respect how good the guy is at putting the puck in the net. Only 22, this was his third straight season of scoring more than 25 goals. That is extremely impressive. He was the most productive Flame in the playoffs as well.
His defensive play improved as well, as he was more responsible in his own end, he was strong on faceoffs and he was just above 50% in CF for the first time in his career. He is still trending upward and excluding his rough start, this was the best season of his career.
It seems almost unimaginable that Sean Monahan would be receiving an A after his start to the season. Monahan finished with 27G and 31A, which was only slightly off of his previous season bests of 63 and 62 points. Mony’s 27 goals led the Flames this season and 2016-17 was the first time the 22 year old has led the Flames in lighting the lamp. Monahan “carried” the Flames in their brief playoff venture and he’s clearly showing signs that he is building his way to taking over the “C” for the Flames in the coming years. The fact that Monahan finished with those numbers after his VERY slow start is a good sign that even better things are coming down the line.
We are starting to get to the point where we know exactly what Sean Monahan is - a solid point producer if not a great driver of possession. He did very well in the playoffs, but his regular season was not without faults (most of those which were exposed by being coupled with Troy Brouwer, a possession sieve who really didn’t mesh with Monahan who, as mentioned, is not a possession driver in his own right). There were some concerns there with his play, namely the fact that he had just eight primary assists (!!!) whilst playing alongside the phenomenally-talented Johnny Gaudreau. Overall he was 144th out of 352 forwards that had at least a 500 minute sample size in primary points per minute in five-on-five scenarios which - coupled with the possession numbers - puts him at around third line equivalency.
Many people feel like his bread and butter was on the power play, but that wasn’t exactly true either. Monahan was 46th of 70 players in primary points per minute in five-on-four situations of forwards with at least 200 minutes. It isn’t necessarily fair to count this against him as the Flames power play was wildly inconsistent (and one might even say bad) and his expected goal differential was favourable.
This tandem of Gaudreau and Monahan really needs to take the next step forward next year. The Flames will be a team rife with cap space for the first time in Brad Treliving’s tenure. If they manage to couple them with a solid driver of possession that can contribute offensively and fix the bottom half of their defense, this sky is the limit for this team next season.
Our Final Grade: A-
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