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Sean Monahan – Expectations

By Bob Trask – The range of expectations with regard to what Sean Monahan will bring to the Montreal Canadiens is very wide. Some hope to see him rebound to his peak form while others believe he will struggle to make the roster as a regular. The likelihood is that his performance will fall between those two extremes. A lot depends on his health.

Career at a Glance

During his career Sean Monahan averaged almost 18 minutes of ice time per game. In that role he averaged 26.5 goals and 31.3 assists per 82 games. In his best year he put up 82 point in 74 games and in his worst year (last season) he put up 23 points in 65 games. To be fair, he only played 14 minutes per game in the 2021-22 season.

He will probably never repeat the magical 82 point season but he isn’t as bad as the last two injury plagued seasons may indicate.

Role with the Canadiens

The Canadiens may want to be absolutely sure he is healthy and ready to play before inserting him into the lineup. That may include a short stint on the injury list followed by a conditioning assignment in Laval if there are any questions at all.

Assuming that is the case, Monahan could maybe join the club in early to mid-November, missing 9 or 10 games along the way. From that point Martin St-Louis may want to work him slowly into the lineup to see where he best fits into the grand scheme of things. There could also be points during the season where games are missed due to illness or minor injury. It could all add up to another season of about 65 games.

Projecting Performance

Because Monahan could have to work his way back into the lineup, big minutes over the course of the season are probably out of the question. But he could easily average 13 minutes or more per game.

Monahan is also in a contract year and will be motivated to show well in order to have some leverage in his next contract negotiations. He may also be motivated to show the league and the Calgary Flames that he still has gas left in the tank.

When you plug all of those number into the equation you might get numbers close to 15 goals and 18 assists over 65 games. That equates to 19 goals and 23 assists over a full 82 games. In his career he has also been slightly over 50% on faceoffs.

No, those aren’t Auston Matthews or even Pierre-Luc Dubois numbers but considering the cost of acquisition, production at those levels would be a bonus.

A more valid comparison might be Phil Danault. Both players are of similar age and have put up similar defensive statistics based on DPS (defensive point share). Where Monahan has outshone Danault, until recently, has been on offense. But a lot of that can be attributed to Monahan’s point totals on the power play – something Danault never really had the opportunity to do. You can see the side by side comparison here.

A solid year could earn Monahan a relatively lucrative multi-year offer for an extension from the Canadiens or it could bring the Canadiens a solid return at the trade deadline. A lot depends on how the season unfolds for the Canadiens and for him. In summary, the Monahan acquisition is a zero risk/high potential reward situation for the Montreal Canadiens.

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