The Calgary Flames are entering their first season without Jarome Iginla for the first time since 1996 and their offense will be looking for a replacement. Right now, the Flames’ top scorer from last year is Curtis Glencross who netted 15 goals last season. After Glencross is Mike Cammalleri who had 13 goals last season and led the team with 32 points. This year, the Flames might be asking 18-year-old center Sean Monahan to shoulder some of the offensive load.
Monahan was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and the Flames are hoping he will become a building block in their rebuilding process. Originally, the Flames were hoping he would be able to contribute in a couple of years but he has shown that he might be able to succeed right away at this level so far this preseason.
At six-foot-two, 190 pounds, he certainly has the size to hold his own in the NHL and he does possess solid playmaking skills. The Flames are completely lacking up the middle as far as talent. Mikael Backlund, Steve Begin, Matt Stajan and Max Reinhart are the leading candidates to handle the duties at center. Monahan has the potential to be better than all them.
There are weaknesses to Monahan’s game and like any 18-year-old he will make mistakes. However, he is a bona fide playmaker who can handle the puck, win face-offs, with a ton of hockey sense and intelligence to learn from his mistakes.
Monahan should get significant minutes this season in an effort to create offense for the Flames. The only real question is, will he be ready to answer the call and how will he handle the pressure of being asked to help boost an offense that figures to be among the lowest scoring in the NHL.