We Need to Talk About Sean Monahan

After such a promising start, the Calgary Flames have come crashing back to Earth. At this point, they resemble the rebuilding team everyone expected of them but there are some positives to their season so far. Captain Mark Giordano and defense partner T.J. Brodie have emerged as a strong first pairing for the team. Rookies Johnny Gaudreau and Josh Jooris have shown a lot of promise. Coach Bob Hartley has been huge in giving the Flames a culture change by promoting a strong ethic and up tempo play and so far the team has bought in. But one player who could use some more attention is center Sean Monahan.

Calgary’s first pick at sixth overall in 2013, Monahan is on the right track to becoming a very solid two-way center in the NHL. After years of denying a rebuild, the Flames tanked in the shortened season and drafted Monahan, who filled a glaring need for this organization. Calgary has been missing that coveted number one center teams need in hopes to contend.

Despite being a high pick going to a Canadian city, Monahan has flown under the radar so far in his NHL career. In his draft year, he played on a terrible Ottawa 67s team in the OHL and lived in the shadows of players like Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Seth Jones. Even scoring 22 goals in his rookie year wasn’t enough for Monahan, as MacKinnon deservedly won the Calder Trophy after a 63 point rookie season cementing himself as a can’t miss superstar.

But in his second season so far, Monahan has 21 points in 35 games and has bulked up to a solid 6’2″ and 185 pounds (according to NHL.com) with still more room to grow. His two-way game has taken a big step forward and he is playing up around 20 minutes a night for the Flames. But one of the biggest things about Monahan has to be his maturity. He sounds more like a 30-year-old in a 20-year-old’s body and his seriousness has made him the focal point of jokes, not unlike Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and his “Captain Serious” moniker. The “Boring Sean Monahan” Twitter account is very popular and has more followers than Monahan’s real account.

Being just 20, Monahan isn’t even close to realizing his immense potential. Playing in the NHL at a young age will have its fair share of growing pains, especially on a rebuilding team. Calgary has started to refill the prospect cupboards in hopes more youth will join Monahan on the big club. Two-way players like Toews, Patrice Bergeron, and Anze Kopitar have been the pillars of Stanley Cup winning teams in recent years and Monahan has the potential to become something similar to these players, as he possesses the skill, size, work ethic and maturity to do so. Monahan may never be the most recognized member of the Flames or the flashiest, but more importantly, Monahan is the kind of player who wins a team hockey games, something Calgary needs more of.

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