Monahan signed a seven-year contract extension worth a reported US$44.6 million on Friday morning, leaving Gaudreau as the last remaining domino to fall in a busy Flames off-season. The 23-year-old is still without a new contract for next season.
“Today’s about Sean,” Brad Treliving, the club’s general manager, insisted to reporters at a news conference in Calgary. “This is his day.”
“I don’t want to play anywhere else,” Monahan said. “I would sign as long as I could and I think we found seven years fit. It was fair for both of us.”
The former sixth overall pick has quickly established himself as a precocious two-way force for the Flames, an impact performer almost from the day he entered the NHL as an 18 year old in 2013.
He scored 22 goals as a rookie that season before exploding for a career-high 31 goals and 62 points as a sophomore. The Brampton, Ont., native maintained that level of production with 27 goals last year, mostly alongside Gaudreau, adding a career-best 36 assists and 20 power-play points.
Monahan has actually topped all players from his 2013 draft class in goals (80) and points (159), outpacing No. 1 overall pick Nathan Mackinnon (59 goals and 153 points) as well as Aleksander Barkov (52, 119), the Florida Panthers’ young star.
“When you look at his production, when you look at what Sean’s done over the three years, he’s been at the high-end of that level,” Treliving said.
Monahan, whose serious demeanour at a young age has inspired a satirical Twitter account (Boring Sean Monahan), is already doing just about everything for Calgary: he kills penalties, makes an imprint on the power play, wins 51 per cent of his draws, posts positive puck possession stats and scores a bunch of goals.
In fact, only 20 players have scored more than him over the last three seasons, all the more impressive given that he won’t turn 22 until October.
Treliving said the deal, which keeps Monahan under contract until 2023, was as much about what Monahan had done already as what he stood to accomplish down the line.
“We look at this as securing Sean for really the prime years of his career,” Treliving said.
“This is a young player who’s established himself as a top player and important player in the league, but is still in a growth pattern. This is a young guy who’s going to get better.”
This summer has been notable for the flood of young stars signing rich second contracts. Similar such deals include other top centres such as MacKinnon (seven years, $44.1 million), Filip Forsberg (six years, $36 million) and Mark Scheifele (eight years, $49 million), as well as defenders like Seth Jones (six years, $32.4 million), Morgan Rielly (six years, $30 million) and Aaron Ekblad (eight years, $60 million).
Notable stars still to be signed less than two months before the start of the regular season include Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba, Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm and of course, Gaudreau.
Calgary, which missed the playoffs last season, has already had a hectic summer even before locking up its two young stars. The club hired Glen Gulutzan as their new head coach, traded for a new No. 1 goaltender in Brian Elliott, drafted Matthew Tkachuk with the sixth overall pick, and signed veteran Troy Brouwer to a rich four-year deal in free agency.
Gaudreau, who turned 23 last week, is arguably their top talent though and as yet without a new deal. The American winger has played only two NHL seasons, but is already an offensive whiz, posting career-highs of 30 goals and 78 points last season. He finished sixth in the NHL scoring race and will suit up with Monahan for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey next month.
“I’m positive he’s going to be here for Oct. 12 and going to be playing for the Calgary Flames,” Monahan said, referring to the Flames season opener against the Edmonton Oilers.
“We’ll just continue to work at it,” Treliving added.
“He wants to be here. We want him here. And you keep working away at it. We have every confidence we’re going to find a deal that’s fair and works for both sides.”