Life isn’t fair. We have a saying in our house: you get what you get and you don’t get upset. Simple, yet effective. But I’m going to toss that saying to the side and scream like a 4 year old who wants something they can’t have: SEAN MONAHAN SHOULD BE AN NHL ALL STAR. There, I feel better.
For the 6th time since Monahan has been available for the NHL to send him to the All Star Game, the Flames centre has been left on the outside looking in. Now, every fan base, every team has a player or two they feel gets snubbed (there are a bunch of Flames who could go this year), Calgary fans have a legitimate beef when it comes to Monahan. For all six of his NHL seasons he’s been a 20+ goal scorer. He’s a dominant force in the slot and he and Johnny Gaudreau are like an extension of each other. Monahan is as good as any other player that gets to play in the NHL’s mid season exhibition game, but there are a few things holding him back and one is on him: he’s not flashy.
Before you board a plane and fly to Massachusetts to fight me on this one, I agree with you. It shouldn’t matter, BUT All Star Games are popularity contests. They are the superlatives of the sports yearbook. I’d take Sean Monahan 17 times out of 10 with the puck on his stick. He’s solid. Fundamentally sound. Unselfish. Skilled. Doesn’t take dumb penalties. Keeps his nose clean. He’s everything you’d want in an All Star, but he just doesn’t sizzle and that’s what the 3 on 3 tournament wants. Sexy. Shiny. Ooooh’s and Aaaah’s. Which is a shame because Monahan is most of that, but he doesn’t bring that “drawing” power that say......Johnny Gaudreau does.
Gaudreau will make his 5th straight, one for every year he’s played, appearance at the NHL Honda Classic and for good reason. He’s one of the NHL’s young superstars who has.....star power. When you mention Connor McDavid what name gets mentioned in the same breath? Johnny Gaudreau. He’s fast. He’s small. His stick skills are off the charts. He’s shifty. Gaudreau is electric with the puck, but not always as fundamentally sound as say....Sean Monahan. There’s a great chance that Gaudreau will do something highlight reel worthy when the puck is on his stick, there’s also a chance he turns it over and the play fizzles out. Monahan? He doesn’t lead the rush. He doesn’t fill up the highlight reel. He just puts the puck in the net. Neither player falls into the Top 15 when it comes to jerseys sold, but if you polled a group of people and asked them to name a player synonymous with the Flames, I’d bet “Johnny Gaudreau” would be the top answer.
Look, having to choose between Gaudreau and Monahan is like trying to pick your favorite kid. The Flames and the fan base are lucky to have them both on the same team. Watching the two of them play together is magical. Both players know where the other is on the ice at all times and if we’re being honest with ourselves, they both are All Stars. The problem comes down to selling tickets, jerseys and who should be on the cover of NHL 2020 and unfortunately that’s too bad.
I have no doubt that Sean Monahan would become a household name if he were to be sent to an All Star Game. His style of play fits perfectly with the 3 on 3 format that has made the game more fun. Look at how electric Monahan is when the Flames go to OT during the regular season when paired with Gaudreau. Now imagine him playing with Gaudreau and McDavid or with Joe Pavelski. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. The exhibition game is a popularity contest and Sean Monahan doesn’t bring enough pizzazz to turn people’s heads. I mean he’s only 9th in the NHL in points. The good news is there’s a VERY solid chance he’ll be playing hockey well into April and that is more important than some silly game halfway through the season.