What Sean Monahan accomplished in the 2012-13 season was noteworthy enough, but how he did it was arguably more impressive.
Monahan, 18, concluded his third season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Ottawa 67’s and his first as the team’s captain. For the second straight season, he recorded 78 points (31g, 47a).
And he did so without now-professional linemates Tyler Toffoli and Shane Prince on a team that won just 16 of 68 games.
“He played without that kind of quality winger on his line this year,” said Tony MacDonald, the Hurricanes director of amateur scouting. “He had to do it more by himself and still had the kind of season that made you stand up and take notice.”
Compounding the difficult circumstances was Monahan’s 10-game suspension, levied against the Brampton, Ontario, native in late November after an elbow to the head of Plymouth Whalers captain Colin MacDonald.
A few weeks later, the then-top OHL prospect was cut in the Canadian national junior team selection camp.
|HOMETOWN: BRAMPTON, ONTARIO |
|HEIGHT: 6-2 |
|WEIGHT: 187 |
|BIRTHDAY: OCT. 12, 1994 (AGE 18) |
“The suspension hurt him badly going into the national junior camp at Christmastime,” MacDonald said. “It probably cost him a spot on the team at the time because he wasn’t as game-ready or prepared as he would have been.”
Despite the adversity, the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Service ranks Monahan fifth among North American skaters, a one-spot drop from midterms.
Monahan finished the 2012-13 season ranking first in scoring on the rebuilding 67’s with 31 goals, including a team-leading 15 on the power play, and 47 assists. Monahan was voted by OHL Eastern Conferences coaches among the top-three players in four separate categories – smartest player, best playmaker, best stickhandler and best on faceoffs.
A year prior, flanked by Toffoli (100 points) and Prince (90 points), Monahan notched 33 goals and 45 assists (78 points) and was a plus-25. Ottawa won its division, finishing second in the Eastern Conference with 40 wins and 88 points. In the 2011-12 postseason, Monahan recorded 15 points (8g, 7a) in 18 games, as the 67’s bowed out to the Niagara IceDogs in the Eastern Conference Final.
A 6-foot-2, 187-pound left-shooting center, Monahan’s best asset is his two-way capabilities. In molding his game, Monahan has said that he looks to strong two-way NHL centers like Jordan Staal.
Similar to his fellow top forward prospects, Monahan possess high-end offensive talent. His instincts and vision make him a quality playmaker.
“He’s a character individual and a quality person. He’s a tremendous player with a great hockey IQ and vision of the ice,” MacDonald said. “If he had a strength that stood out above all, it would be his ability to create and make plays.”
Monahan has some loose ties to the Carolina hockey scene. His grandfather, Rick Hay, logged 14 games and five assists with the Charlotte Checkers in the now-defunct Eastern Hockey League during the 1961-62 season.
Though stranger things have happened, Monahan, in all likelihood, will be available when the Hurricanes approach the podium with the fifth overall pick on Sunday. With his size and smarts down the middle, he makes a strong case to be considered.