Technically, according to NHL.com‘s list of scoring leaders, you will find Calgary Flames rookie sensation Sean Monahan in the number 22 slot. However, his point total this season is the fifth highest in the league at the moment. Sidney Crosby leads with 17 (yawn), Joe Pavelski and Henrik Sedin (welcome back Hank) sit second with 12, a bunch of players have 11 (Datsyuk, Zetterberg, etc), a bunch more have 10 (Ovechkin, Stamkos, Tavares, etc), and another large group of scorers have 9. Monahan is tied with the long list of NHLers who have 9 points thus far, which includes teammate Marc Giordano.
A year ago, Monahan was dominating the OHL, a league filled with teenagers, most of whom, will never see a day in the National Hockey League. His 78 points in 58 games was good enough for 15th in league scoring. Monahan finished the OHL season with less points than current NHL rookies Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets and Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets, but in the NHL, he is outproducing them significantly.
Monahan is only 19 years old. His birthday was October 12, just ten days ago. He is not the only pre-twenty something having a strong start to his NHL career, either.
Seth Jones of the Nashville Predators, Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche, Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Olli Maatta of the Pittsburgh Penguins, among others, are shining for their respective hockey clubs.
Check out Sean Monahan’s first NHL goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
19 year olds have done well in the NHL before. Wayne Gretzky scored 164 points in the season before he became 20. Sidney Crosby had 120 as a 19 year old. A few years later, Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos scored 51 goals as a 19 year old. Monahan is not the first kid to tear it up, but he is a rare commodity nonetheless. Most 19 year olds can’t hack it in training camp, let alone the NHL regular season when more experienced physically matured men start competing.
The NHL 9-game rule affecting Monahan’s immediate future comes into play after tonight’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes. Upon the conclusion of the Flames contest with the Yotes, Flames’ general manager Jay Feaster will be forced to decide if Sean Monahan will stay in the NHL. If he stays with the Flames for the remainder of the season, his contract kicks in this year, forcing him into RFA status one year earlier. If he is sent back to junior his contract doesn’t activate this season. From the outside looking in, all things considered, keeping Monahan with the big club seems like a no brainer.
Flames decision to keep Monahan will be based strictly on development. Management not concerned with burning a year on his entry level deal.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) October 22, 2013
The Flames are young, and they possess some good building blocks, perhaps none more impressive than Monahan. His franchise centre potential is undeniable. Already touted as a player who understands the defensive side of the game beyond his years, he’s quickly proving he can produce offence at an elite level, as well. Jay Feaster and Brian Burke must be happy with this one.
Monahan went 6th overall to the Flames last June. He enters the league in the perfect situation to play now, on a Flames team in the midst of a massive roster overhaul, aiming to get younger and better. It is still unknown whether he will stay in the NHL or head back to junior after the 9 game deadline, however, most speculators feel he’s staying – he has been too good to send down.