Flames keeping Monahan close
CALGARY, AB -- Sean Monahan will be spending the New Year in North America.
General manager Jay Feaster announced on Tuesday that the Calgary Flames would not release the 19-year-old to Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden from December 27th to January 5th.
“We spent a lot of time talking about it and we looked at a lot of different things,” Feaster said. “Obviously it’s a tremendous opportunity for a player to be on an international stage, obviously the pressure of representing Canada, and that’s a good thing.
“At the same time, there’s pressure being a member of the Calgary Flames Hockey Club and playing in front of our fans and trying to win games in the National Hockey League.”
In his rookie season, Monahan has played a big role on the rebuilding Flames. He’s second on the team in both goals (9) and points (15) despite missing the past two games with a hairline fracture in his foot.
It’s his key contributions to the Flames that will keep Monahan in Calgary, Feaster explained.
“The reality of it is, we’re talking about a young man who’s playing over 16 minutes a night,” he said. “Despite missing the past couple of games, he is still No. 2 on our team in scoring. He’s No. 2 in goal scoring.
“If you look at it, he’s credited with one game-winning goal but the fact of the matter is the two shootout games that he won with his goals, they don’t count as game-winning-goals. So right now, we’re a hockey team with nine wins. He’s responsible for a third of those wins.
“We can look at the record right now and say ‘Oh the team’s not in a playoff position’ and you can project and speculate all you want but the fact and the matter is every time we put the sweater on, our expectation is we go out there to win and we believe in putting the best product on the ice that we’re able to.”
Regardless, the Flames are without the first round pick (No. 6) from 2013. Monahan remains listed as week-to-week on the injured reserve with the foot fracture.
The damage and subsequent rehabilitation is something the Flames were mindful of in their decision to keep Monahan close.
“We don’t know yet exactly when he’s going to be cleared to return to play but as we look at it again, we want him playing here, want him doing his rehab here.
“It’s a loss with him out of the lineup right now with an injury so certainly the idea that we’d just release him to go play in the tournament and miss him for six or seven games, that’s just something we’re not prepared to do.”
Though he'll miss the World Juniors, Monahan is no stranger to international action.
He participated in Team Canada’s summer development camp in August and has experience in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, winning gold at the 2011 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and as a member of Team Ontario at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
He also participated in the Canada-Russia Challenge in 2012 and attended Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp in Calgary last December.