Sean Monahan’s Injury and What It Means for the Flames

sean monahan injury

When general manager Brad Treliving announced Sean Monahan would miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season, few people among the Calgary Flames media and fans were surprised. Monahan’s struggles this season are well documented: his scoring has disappeared, and his timing and strength seemingly diminished. He’s fallen down the lineup steadily before finally being scratched in two of three games before being shut down. Simply put, something was clearly wrong.

How Sean Monahan’s Injury Affects Calgary’s Future

Seemingly miscast on the fourth line on a team struggling with secondary scoring, speculation was rampant that Monahan was struggling due to his prior wrist and hip surgeries which prematurely ended his 2020-21 season. Treliving revealed that Monahan requires the same hip surgery but on his other hip. Though Treliving stopped short of saying Monahan has been struggling with the injury for some time, he did say Monahan “plays through a lot of stuff and without telling a lot of people.” Treliving was also very frank in his assessment of the criticisms Monahan has endured all season.

Amongst fans and media, there are many who applauded him for attempting to fight through the pain. Some fans have lamented the timing of the decision to shut Monahan down. They believe that the cap space his injury affords the team could have gone to good use at the trade deadline. That said, Calgary was near the top of the league standings prior to the deadline. It’s unlikely Monahan’s status would have greatly altered a trading period that had already landed them Tyler Toffoli and Calle Jarnkrok, two of the more sought-after players at the deadline. Their current three-game losing streak aside, many consider the Flames a legitimate Cup contender.

The Short-Term Effect

In the short term, the Flames are losing an assistant captain. They’re also losing a historically effective scorer from their lineup just weeks before the playoffs. Most don’t consider Monahan a big-game performer in the postseason, but he’s still managed twenty-one points in thirty career playoff games. Those numbers aren’t insignificant. But as strong as the Flames have been all year, their recent struggles are largely due to a lack of secondary scoring. A healthy Sean Monahan could certainly help alleviate those concerns. In his absence, expect Adam Ruzicka to draw back into the line-up. We may also see the NHL debut of AHL standout Jakob Pelletier before the regular season concludes.

This summer, the Flames are now facing an even trickier salary cap situation. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane, and Oliver Kylington all need new contracts (as well as several other UFAs to sign or replace). Monahan has a cap hit of $6.375 million and one year left on his contract. He was undoubtedly a prime candidate for the Flames to move this summer. At just 27 years old, teams likely considered Monahan a “low risk, high reward” opportunity for teams looking for a reclamation project. He’s now facing his second hip procedure in two years, though. The Flames may have to throw in a draft pick/prospect to convince another team to take a chance on him. He can’t be bought out while on long-term injury reserve, though. A salary dump to a team with plentiful cap room (perhaps Ottawa, where Monahan played junior) is the most likely scenario.

Monahan’s Legacy

Despite his struggles, Monahan is one of the most successful first-round draft picks in Flames history. He has seven seasons of at least twenty goals to his credit. He also ranks 3rd all-time in Flames franchise history in game-winning goals. Monahan was a key player in helping the Flames quickly rebuild after moving on from Jarome Iginla in 2013. If his time in Calgary is indeed over, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more consistent scorer in the team’s history. While Treliving emphatically stated that Monahan’s last hip surgery (the same procedure he requires now) was a success and that Monahan will be back, it’s unlikely that he returns to Calgary.

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