While the majority of Calgary Flames players had successful 2021-22 seasons, the same cannot be said for Sean Monahan. The 27-year-old entered the campaign with plenty to prove, as he was not only coming off of two down years by his standards but also offseason hip surgery.
The bounce-back many were hoping for failed to happen, as Monahan looked like a shadow of his former self. By the time his season had come to an end, he had just eight goals and 23 points in 65 games, while his plus/minus of minus-15 was the worst amongst all Flames skaters.
Though there is plenty of doubt surrounding his ability to turn back the clock, one thing to note is that Monahan’s 2021-22 season ended abruptly in early April after general manager Brad Treliving announced that Monahan would be undergoing hip surgery once again, though this time on the right side. This has led many to believe he spent a good chunk of the season battling through injury and has some holding onto a sliver of hope that he may return to his former 30-goal scoring self in 2022-23.
Monahan’s Career in a Downward Spiral
Despite still being a relatively young player, Monahan has gotten progressively worse in each of the past three seasons. After a career year in 2018-19 in which he scored 34 goals and 82 points, he followed it up with a 22-goal, 48-point season, marking his lowest totals since his rookie campaign back in 2013-14.
The hope was that the 2019-20 season was simply just an off-year, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. In 2020-21, he had a career-worst 10 goals and 28 points, totals which he fell from even further in 2021-22. Injuries have played a major part in this, as he was one of the league’s more consistent goal scorers through the first six seasons of his career.
Admirable Compete Level
Through parts of his career, Monahan’s compete level has been questioned at times by the fan base, as he doesn’t play the game with a ton of emotion. That, paired with some less than stellar play performances, drew the ire of many who questioned his will to win on several occasions.
When announcing that Monahan would miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season due to his hip injury, Treliving defended his player and called out both media and fans who questioned that compete level and desire to win in the past. As Treliving stated, Monahan has battled a ridiculous number of injuries throughout his career but always kept quiet about them and continued to suit up each and every night. That in itself speaks volumes about how much he cares, despite what some may suggest.
Monahan Likely a Trade Candidate This Summer
Unfortunately for Treliving, despite how much respect he clearly has for Monahan, he may have no choice but to trade him this summer. With several players in need of deals, such as Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington, this is a team that needs to free up as much cap space as possible, and moving Monahan’s $6.375 million deal would help with that in a big way.
There is no denying how good of a player Monahan has been during his time with the Flames, but the fact of the matter is he is no longer worth anywhere near the money he is owed. The good news, however, is that his contract has just one season remaining, making it easier to trade. Of course, there is always the chance that he bounces back and finds success with a new team, but that is a risk Treliving will need to take. He simply cannot afford to keep him on this roster if he hopes to make room for each of the four players mentioned above.
Final Grade: D
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.