The Calgary Flames announced Wednesday that Sean Monahan, their 6th overall pick from this year's draft, would be sticking with the team for the remainder of the season.
This is a notable decision, of course, since Monahan is a) quite young, at 19, and b) on the verge of playing his 10th game as a Flame. It's at game 10 when the junior-eligible players burn a year of their entry-level contract. You only get three of those, and then you usually have to negotiate a deal that takes up a real chunk of space on your salary cap. It's for that reason that teams tend to be pretty cautious with declaring their draft picks to be NHLers.
But Monahan made the Flames throw caution to the win by doing things that hockey teams like, such as putting up points in all but two of his nine games, and leading the team in goals scored. From the Flames' release:
Monahan, who was selected sixth overall in the 2013 NHL Draft in New Jersey, is leading the Flames in goals scored this year with 6 through 9 games. The 19-year-old also has the best shooting percentage on the roster, connecting on 28.6 per cent of his 21 shots on net this year, and leads the team with 2 power play markers.
[...] Monahan has been held pointless in just 2 games this season - Oct. 16 in Anaheim and Oct. 22 in Phoenix. He registered his first NHL point in the Flames season opener in Washington on Oct. 3 - an assist on the Flames first tally of the year - and scored his first NHL goal the following night in Columbus.
So much goodness. I wish I could keep Monahan.
All that said, I find it odd and more than a little concerning that Monahan's absurdly-high shooting percentage of 28.6 per cent gets such a prominent mention in the release. It looks good, sure, but also, it totally doesn't.
It's used as a boast, as though Monahan's just a really, really good shooter, but it should actually just set off alarm bells. 28.6 is, after all, a completely unsustainable shooting percentage -- it's both a strong indication that Monahan's early production is in part due to some very good luck, and that this luck is bound to end soon.
If he begins to level off, which is likely, and the production stops coming, the Flames could look pretty silly for burning a year of Monahan's ELC based on a surge to start the year.
Heck, even if Monahan doesn't regress, they still might. Despite the decent start, this team is still years away from being competitive. One wonders, as Ryan Lambert did just over a week ago, what the value is in having Monahan play with a team that's going nowhere this season when he could continue to refine his game in junior -- -- especially the defensive side, which still leaves much to be desired -- without getting one year closer to his second contract.
But the club doesn't appear to be all that concerned with future salary issues. More than anything, they just don't want Monahan to get a big head. To that end, he'll be staying with billets:
Interesting Monahan stays in YYC..but condition on staying is he must live with Billets in Cgy. #Flames want him grounded.
— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) October 23, 2013
Weird. There wasn't a veteran willing to take him in?