By JD Lagrange – As far, we often times have a tendency to either over-evaluate and under-estimate players. We look at statistics, we focus on a few good play and bad plays, and things get easily amplified, positively or negatively. Other times, we just can’t see beyond that one player’s statistics and make judgment.
A great example of that is Carey Price. Fans have taken him for granted for many years but you truly feel his impact when the Canadiens don’t have him over a longer period of time. Even then, some who have made up their mind negatively in the past, will refuse to acknowledge how much he is being missed. It’s human nature in today’s society where people go overboard in their comments on social media, to get to the point of no return, being unable to admit that they were wrong. The desire to be right surpasses reality and pride gets in the way.
When NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun informed us that the Canadiens were toying with the idea of extending Sean Monahan, many frowned and strongly disapproved. It’s okay, it’s their opinion after all, right? But the veteran center was making a case for himself.
Monahan played his last game on December 5th and, coincidently or not, the team has gone stone cold. In fact, let’s collectively take our biased glasses off and look at how both the team and individuals have done since Monahan has been out of the line-up.
|With Monahan||Without Monahan|
That is not pretty, is it? While it was to be expected that the team’s success on faceoffs would drop, no one anticipated the rest of those stats to take such a huge hit. Every single aspect of the Canadiens’ game as a team has dropped drastically.
One factor that is overlooked by most people, is the impact Monahan had on young Nick Suzuki. Without the veteran center, the Canadiens’ captain is simply not the same player. In fact, he’s not living up to his contract since Monahan has been out of the line-up and that’s alarming. Have a look for yourself:
|With Monahan||SUZUKI||Without Monahan|
Before Monahan was sidelined, Suzuki was on pace for a 46 goals season. He was on pace for 92 points, something that hasn’t been done by a Canadiens’ player since Pierre Turgeon (96 pts) and Vincent Damphousse (94 pts) did it in the 1995-96 season! In fact, if he continues at the pace he’s been on since Monahan was hurt, Suzuki will finish the season with 44-45 points!
But he’s not the only one. The impact of the absence of Monahan is felt through the line-up. Some of it is directly related to the veteran center, some due to the drop in production from Suzuki, which certainly seems to be related to the loss of Monahan too.
This were the Habs Top-10 scorers with Monahan in the line-up, prior to him going on the injured reserve:
|1- Nick Suzuki||25||14||14||28||-1||1.12|
|2- Cole Caufield||25||14||9||23||-4||0.92|
|3- Kirby Dach||25||4||14||18||-2||0.72|
|4- Sean Monahan||25||6||11||17||-5||0.68|
|5- Christian Dvorak||25||5||5||10||-1||0.40|
|6- Kaiden Guhle||25||1||9||10||-8||0.40|
|7- Josh Anderson||23||6||2||8||-2||0.35|
|8- Mike Hoffman||16||5||3||8||+3||0.50|
|9- Arber Xhekaj||23||4||4||8||0||0.35|
|10- Brendan Gallagher||22||3||5||8||-3||0.36|
As you can see, Monanan’s own production was decent, but not at the top of the list. But everyone else ahead of him were having a great start to the season. At the time, few would have predicted that it was due, at least in part, to Monahan being there.
Jump to today, let’s look at the Habs Top-10 scorers without Monahan in the line-up:
|1- Cole Caufield||14||8||0||8||-6||0.57|
|2- Christian Dvorak||14||2||4||6||-5||0.43|
|3- Josh Anderson||14||4||1||5||-9||0.36|
|4- Arber Xhekaj||14||1||4||5||-2||0.36|
|5- Kirby Dach||14||1||4||5||-5||0.36|
|6- Jake Evans||14||1||4||5||-2||0.36|
|7- Mike Hoffman||12||2||2||4||-4||0.33|
|8- Kaiden Guhle||11||1||3||4||-6||0.36|
|9- Nick Suzuki||14||1||3||4||-8||0.29|
|10- Jordan Harris||14||0||4||4||-6||0.29|
We can try to find all of the excuses in the book to try to justify this phenomenon. Teams adjusting, tougher schedule, injuries to other players, goaltenders’ performances, etc, etc, etc… But one cannot deny the fact that there is one common denominator: Sean Monahan came out of the line-up.
There is no doubt that some of that drop, both by the team and by Suzuki, can be explained by factors other than Monahan missing. But it would be foolish to claim that the absence of the veteran centerman has not contributed to the Canadiens’ demise and of their young top center’s drop in efficiency. The impact of Sean Monahan on this team is being felt and it will be interesting to see the effect his pending return to the line-up will have on both the team and on its young captain.
Seeing the above statistics, perhaps more fans and media members will better understand why the Canadiens are at least considering extending Monahan. It’s not only because of his leadership qualities, his faceoffs’ abilities, his versatility, but also for the effect that he had on Nick Suzuki and, ultimately, the rest of the team’s offensive production. They don’t only miss the former Flames’ offensive production, they miss Slick Nick’s production and his ability of helping his teammates produce as well.