CALGARY, AB -- The significant bump in salary comes with a significant bump in expectations.
And while there’s the hope that Calgary Flames centre Sean Monahan will already improve upon totals that have seen him net back-to-back 60-point seasons and score at least 20 goals in each of his first three years, big strides off the ice are also required after signing a seven-year contract last Friday.
“We had a long talk there [Thursday] about the old line, 'To whom much is given much is expected,’” said Flames general manager Brad Treliving. “We’re investing in this person as much as we’re investing in the player. He wants to win. This is the place he wants to be at.
“He wants to be an important part of this team both on and off the ice in terms of the leadership role. As his game continues to grow, those leadership qualities are just innate to him. He’s a serious guy. He takes his profession very seriously. As his game continues to grow those qualities will continue to grow.”
The leadership abilities have been shown early in his NHL career, and showcased at every level Monahan has played at.
He and Dennis Wideman alternated the assistant captaincy for home and away games in 2015-16, showing his continued evolution that started at the midget ranks when he captained the Mississauga Rebels to an OHL Cup title at age 15, and co-captained the Ottawa 67’s alongside Ottawa Senators defenceman Cody Ceci as an 18-year-old.
Monahan admits it’s a goal of his to continue developing as a leader to the point he can add a second ‘C’ to his jersey.
After current captain Mark Giordano, who will start a six-year contract this fall, that is.
“That’s a goal,” said Monahan, who was selected sixth overall in the 2013 NHL Draft and has outscored each and every member of his class to date.
“It’d be a huge honour. But Gio is here for a long time. He’s a great captain and I couldn’t be happier that he’s wearing the C while I’m on the team. He’s easy to look up to. He comes in every day and does his job with passion. I’ve been training with Gio all summer. To have your captain push you all summer to be better is important.
“He’s been a great role model.”
To the point it's not out of the realm of possibility that Monahan could be next in line to eventually inherit the captaincy.
“He’s been an assistant captain, which speaks to his leadership qualities at such a young age,” Treliving said. “He’s going to be part of our leadership group. We’re not ready to put dirt on our captain yet, but that’s one of the things we talked about.
“In terms of a growth area for Sean, that next step is to grab a hold of the responsibility for wins and losses. And that’s not just what happens in 60 minutes, it’s ensuring your teammates are prepared and you’re doing all the things you need to do to win.
“But Sean is going to play a big part in our leadership group.”