Flames’ Monahan an Understated Star

The Calgary Flames head into the All-Star break in the midst of another stellar run as they continued their winning ways with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. A key contributor during this impressive 8-0-1 stretch has been Sean Monahan.  The talented 24-year-old has registered five goals and five assists in the past nine contests and continues to chug along as one of the NHL’s understated superstars.

While it’s been Monahan’s dynamic linemate Johnny Gaudreau and captain Mark Giordano who’ve generated the majority of the headlines this season, Monahan’s performance has been just as vital in helping the Flames post a Western Conference leading ledger of 33-13-5.

The Flames have rebounded from a non-playoff season in 2017-18 to establish themselves as a legitimate Stanley Cup threat and are finding different ways to win. They have a whopping five players, including Monahan, who’ve surpassed the 50-point plateau so far in what is shaping up as one of the most successful and exciting seasons in quite some time for the organization.

Monahan Poised for Career-Best Campaign

Monahan is putting up exceptional numbers in what’s becoming the best season of his career. The first-round draft pick from the 2013 Entry Draft is centering a top line with Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm that has emerged as one of the most dangerous top units in the league. While Gaudreau is part of the highlight packages on a nightly basis because of his flash-and-dash abilities, Monahan has stayed out of the limelight for some reason.

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He calmly goes about his business as a proven, consistent 25-30-goal scorer since joining the NHL ranks. Monahan has two 30-goal seasons under his belt and is poised to hit the 40-goal plateau for the first time in his career in 2018-19. At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Monahan can find his way to open spaces and has flourished thanks to the play-making wizardry of Gaudreau. The two have been dependable producers for several seasons, and with the addition of Lindholm, the chemistry has never been better.

Monahan has also contributed a slew of game-winning goals during his time with the Flames. He’s continued that trend with four game-winners this season. He is second on the team in scoring, shots on goal and is also a significant force for the Flames on special teams with 11 power-play markers.

Monahan Not Flashy but Results Are Spectacular

After playing through a rash of injuries in the 2017-18 season, Monahan has taken his game to new heights this season. His 27 goals and 34 assists in 51 games have him entrenched in the top-10 in league scoring and his point totals are better than those of Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and John Tavares of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Those established NHL stars certainly garner far more attention with their exploits than Monahan tends to receive.

It’s hard to understand why Monahan isn’t part of the All-Star festivities this weekend in San Jose but that’s par for the course during his career. He is a quiet sniper, with a tremendous release who is never shy about getting to the difficult areas of the ice. He’s tough but getting physically involved isn’t a part of his overall makeup.

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Monahan’s calm demeanour is reflected by the fact that he’s one of the most sportsmanlike players in the game. His career-high penalty minute total for a season is just 24 and he has a mere 10 penalty minutes this season. Not even a vicious slash from Florida Panthers defenceman Keith Yandle as he potted an empty-net goal in a 4-3 victory over the Panthers on Jan. 11 was able to goad Monahan into a physical confrontation. While a fierce competitor, Monahan just isn’t wired that way when it comes to extra-curricular shenanigans.

Monahan Key Component of Flames’ Comeback Spirit

The Flames’ remarkable 2018-19 season has been highlighted by a slew of third-period comebacks as they’ve emerged as the most dangerous team in the league in the final frame. Not surprisingly, Monahan has played a big role in that success with 12 goals and 13 assists in the third period. He’s also chipped in with three assists in the team’s overtime triumphs. He has a knack for getting goals when it matters most and changing the tide of a contest in the Flames’ favor. With Monahan inked through the 2022-23 NHL season at $6.375 million per season, he’s a bargain for the organization.

(Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

While Flames players, top brass and fans are more than appreciative of Monahan’s sizable contributions, it’s time for the rest of the NHL landscape to take proper notice of his brilliance. He is worthy of the superstar spotlight as the standout sixth-year professional has established himself as one of the most productive and dependable centremen that the game has to offer.