Sean Monahan, NHL Central Scouting's No. 4-rated skater among the top draft-eligible prospects in North America, is a center for the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 186-pound forward led his team with 31 goals, 47 assists, 15 power-play goals and 78 points in 58 games this season for the 67's. Monahan, who was voted among the top three players in four separate categories during the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll in March, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.
It was a challenging season this year and with that brings a lot of positives and negatives.
I guess the biggest negative was losing many games (16-46-6), but then there were positives. We still have our loyal fans in Ottawa cheering and always supporting our team. I believe that playing on a rebuilding team at some point in your career is part of being a professional. I learned how to control my emotions better during a game, and that allowed me to focus and play my game.
I was also able to build on my leadership skills and was able to react differently at different times during the season. The one downfall was not really having a home rink, although that's not an excuse to lose games. It just didn't feel like we really ever had a home game. Personally, I definitely had more positives than negatives this past season. I can't thank everyone enough who was a part of it, especially all my teammates.
I feel as though there were two unsung heroes for this year's Ottawa team that maybe didn't get the recognition they rightfully deserved. Our big D-man, Mike Cajkovsky [6-foot-4, 228 pounds], never took a game off regardless of the score. He always was a great teammate. He would block shots and step up when we needed him. He recently received a tryout with the Hershey Bears [the Washington Capitals' American Hockey League affiliate], and I'm sure he will do well.
Also, our equipment manager, Chris Hamilton, did a lot of work this year to make us feel comfortable. Playing in a different rink, he was always moving gear and stuff around and he would usually do it alone. He was recently named to be the equipment manager for Hockey Canada [in the IIHF Ice Hockey Under-18 World Championship, April 18-28 in Sochi, Russia].
Being voted among the top-three players in our conference in four categories was pretty special. Sharing in the top three with friends or players I have played before is pretty cool. It's always great competition. The one category that I would say I'm most proud about was finishing third behind Oshawa's Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Barrie's Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) as the Best on Face-Offs. I take a lot of pride on my faceoffs, and they're a big part of my game.
I had many great memories of the season, but my favorite is the fact our fans were there night in and night out, cheering and supporting all the players throughout the season. That's something I'll never forget about the Ottawa 67's.
After I received word that I had gotten the No. 4 ranking by NHL Central Scouting in January, it was pretty cool to know I was recognized like that. But I'm not really focused or thinking about the rankings, so I'm not thinking about the final rankings [coming out in April]. I just want to get back to working out and getting ready for the NHL Combine and the Draft.
I have been to New Jersey (where the 2013 NHL Draft will be held June 30) once before for a field lacrosse tournament. I'm excited to get up there.
Thanks for reading, and talk to you next month.
Follow Sean Monahan on Twitter at: @Monahan20