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There’s been much debate in fantasy hockey circles about Calgary Flames rookie Sean Monahan and what the Calgary Flames should do with their surprising teenager.

 

After Wednesday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, Monahan has three goals and two assists in four games. That puts the 2013 sixth overall pick second in NHL rookie scoring, and Monahan is tied for the Flames lead in points. The 18-year-old has at least one point in every game this season but Monahan could be sent down to his junior team after his nine-game tryout.

 

Here are the Flames’ top line combinations at even strength so far this season, according to Frozen Pool:

 

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

18.4%

EV

11 BACKLUND,MIKAEL - 39 GALIARDI,T.J. - 24 HUDLER,JIRI

11.92%

EV

47 BAERTSCHI,SVEN - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN - 22 STEMPNIAK,LEE

11.06%

EV

20 GLENCROSS,CURTIS - 54 JONES,DAVID - 38 STREET,BEN

6.2%

EV

20 GLENCROSS,CURTIS - 18 STAJAN,MATTHEW - 22 STEMPNIAK,LEE

5.05%

EV

47 BAERTSCHI,SVEN - 54 JONES,DAVID - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN

 

The Monahan-Baertschi-Stempniak combination has been the second-most regular line for the Flames after four games. And for Monahan, almost 50 per cent of his shifts have come with Baertschi and Stempniak on the ice.


Looking at Monahan’s line production shows that most of his points come from playing on this line.


Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

49.41%

EV

47 BAERTSCHI,SVEN - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN - 22 STEMPNIAK,LEE

20.95%

EV

47 BAERTSCHI,SVEN - 54 JONES,DAVID - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN

5.14%

EV

47 BAERTSCHI,SVEN - 24 HUDLER,JIRI - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN

3.56%

EV

17 BOUMA,LANCE - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN - 22 STEMPNIAK,LEE

3.16%

EV

39 GALIARDI,T.J. - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN - 22 STEMPNIAK,LEE

2.37%

EV

20 GLENCROSS,CURTIS - 54 JONES,DAVID - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN

1.98%

PP

23 MONAHAN,SEAN - 22 STEMPNIAK,LEE - 38 STREET,BEN

 

Total Points for Sean Monahan : 5

Str

On Ice Line Combination

Points

%Total
Points

EV

BAERTSCHI,SVEN - MONAHAN,SEAN - STEMPNIAK,LEE

3

60%

EV

BOUMA,LANCE - JONES,DAVID - MONAHAN,SEAN

1

20%

EV

BAERTSCHI,SVEN - HUDLER,JIRI - MONAHAN,SEAN

1

20%

 

What Monahan has done is impressive but the rookie hasn’t been getting a lot of ice time. In fact, Monahan is ninth on the Flames for forwards in ice time per game, averaging 13:35 minutes a game. His power play time on ice doesn’t look much better, as he’s eighth amongst Flames forwards.

So far, Monahan has found ice time because Matt Stajan has missed the last three games with a leg contusion. Mike Cammalleri has also been injured to start the season. Both these players are due back around the time the Flames need to decide whether Monahan stays in the NHL.

 

Stajan and Cammalleri will eat into the ice time of Monahan, as those two will get quality power play time and are likely to be used in every opportunity to score, especially if Calgary is looking to trade them at some point during the season.

 

In fact, here are the Flames top power play line combinations after four games.

 

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

18.4%

EV

11 BACKLUND,MIKAEL - 39 GALIARDI,T.J. - 24 HUDLER,JIRI

11.92%

EV

47 BAERTSCHI,SVEN - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN - 22 STEMPNIAK,LEE

11.06%

EV

20 GLENCROSS,CURTIS - 54 JONES,DAVID - 38 STREET,BEN

6.2%

EV

20 GLENCROSS,CURTIS - 18 STAJAN,MATTHEW - 22 STEMPNIAK,LEE

5.05%

EV

47 BAERTSCHI,SVEN - 54 JONES,DAVID - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN

4.48%

EV

17 BOUMA,LANCE - 16 MCGRATTAN,BRIAN - 38 STREET,BEN

3.81%

EV

17 BOUMA,LANCE - 8 COLBORNE,JOE - 16 MCGRATTAN,BRIAN

3.34%

EV

8 COLBORNE,JOE - 20 GLENCROSS,CURTIS - 54 JONES,DAVID

2.29%

PP

20 GLENCROSS,CURTIS - 24 HUDLER,JIRI - 54 JONES,DAVID

1.24%

EV

47 BAERTSCHI,SVEN - 24 HUDLER,JIRI - 23 MONAHAN,SEAN

 

Once you add Cammalleri and Stajan to the mix, you can see how Monahan’s already limited ice time will likely start to suffer.

 

Monahan’s hot streak is looking great right now, but Calgary needs to figure what they are going to do when he hits an inevitable cold streak. Do they want him playing under 13 minutes a night if he’s not scoring?

 

Another thing to examine is the history of the man now in charge of making these decisions in Calgary. Brian Burke’s time in Toronto wasn’t exactly a place where prospects went to prosper. Despite media and fans calling for Nazem Kadri to play in the NHL, Burke was content to let him play in juniors and the AHL before Kadri made the Leafs on a full-time basis.

 

When Burke traded Tomas Kaberle for Joe Colborne, he was sent to the AHL and stayed there playing only 11 NHL games over the next two seasons. Burke can be patient with prospects. The Flames need to ask themselves if they are better served to let Monahan go back to junior for another year or to stay with the big club.

 

If Monahan is sent down, the Flames don’t burn a year of his entry-level contract, and Monahan gets to play a lot of minutes in the OHL.

 

There’s also a great chance Monahan will make Canada’s World Juniors hockey team. He did not make the squad last year, so the chance to play in a high-level atmosphere in an important tournament could also be a good way for him to mature as a player.

 

The decision whether to send Monahan to juniors will affect many fantasy owners. Many leagues have conditions about keeping players on their farm team for free if they play under a certain amount of games, or they can keep a player that is still a rookie. Having Monahan sent to juniors would have an impact on the long-term planning for many GMs.

It’s going to be a long season in Calgary as the Flames aren’t expected to be very good, despite their hot start.

 

I’m not saying Monahan will be sent down for sure, but there are a lot of reasons why it might make sense for him to spend another year in the OHL rather than keep him in the NHL. Don’t be caught too off-guard if he’s back playing for the Ottawa 67s in a couple of weeks.


Previously in Frozen Pool Forensics:

 

Forensics: A Devilish Situation

Forensics: Beau Bennett


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Comments (2)add comment

SeaDawg said:

SeaDawg
... Yes, he has exceeded my expectations also, but I don't see him continuing to produce with no PP time and only 13 minutes a night. Plus, as you said, once Cammalleri and Stajan return, Monahan's ice time will be reduced even more. I think he will be sent down, even though based on his play, he deserves to be in the NHL.
October 11, 2013
Votes: +1

mabus said:

mabus
... I would keep him up if you are willing to let him struggle all season and keep putting him out there for 13 to 15 minutes a night. If he isn't getting those minutes, he will get better development in the minors. Add in the fact that you don't burn a year of his contract, and I'd probably lean towards sending him down. That said, he's exceeded my expectations and the decision is no longer a slam dunk in either direction.
October 11, 2013
Votes: -1
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