The Calgary Flames have made their decision on 19-year-old rookie sensation Sean Monahan, and to nobody’s surprise, he will be staying at the NHL level for the remainder of the season.
Once a rookie hits the nine-game mark, an NHL club has to decide whether to burn the first year of that player’s entry-level contract or to return them to the junior ranks. Monahan, who was Calgary’s first-round selection and sixth pick overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, made the team’s decision an easy one.
Monahan has produced six goals so far and is tied for second on the team in scoring with nine points. Only Jiri Hudler has been more productive with 12 points on the season. There have only been two games so far where Monahan has been held pointless, and he’s been receiving plenty of ice time as a result. Flames general manager Jay Feaster stated they were very comfortable in making their decision and believe it will serve Monahan’s best interests in his career development.
The Flames are in the midst of a substantial rebuild that has seen a number of familiar faces either dealt away or retire in the last two seasons. If the team had opted to return Monahan to the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League, there is no doubt that it would not have been well received by the fan base. The Flames are all about youth these days as they make their identity transition, and with talents like Monahan, Sven Baertschi and T.J. Brodie, there is reason for optimism. The young talent and energy has been a positive change.
Head coach Bob Hartley has his team putting in a workmanlike effort on a nightly basis, and while a difficult road trip has brought the Flames back to earth after an outstanding start, they are heading in the right direction. It’s good to see Monahan will get the opportunity to continue to learn more about his craft this season at the NHL level, as he definitely showed he earned that right during his nine-game audition.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports.