Sean Monahan is staying in the National Hockey League.
The Calgary Flames decided to keep the 19-year-old Monahan, who was selected sixth overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Monahan has been impressive to start his career, with six goals and three assists during his nine-game tryout.
The Flames could have returned him to the Ottawa 67’s before playing Dallas tomorrow night to avoid burning the first season on his entry-level contract, but Monahan made enough of an impression to stick around.
Traditionally, the Flames haven’t pushed their draft picks into service quickly, instead giving them more time to develop. Sven Baertschi comes to mind as an example of a recent push, but he was an emergency recall from the Portland Winterhawks, so he was a necessity rather than a choice. Oleg Saprykin played four games in Calgary during the 1999-00 season, but again, he wasn’t kept around for the full season.
Former Flame and current Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf also spent an additional season with the Red Deer Rebels after being drafted before the 2004-05 NHL lockout kept him from making the jump.
However, Monahan has shown he can contribute now, and the Flames have rewarded him for it. Flames general Jay Feaster praised Monahan’s maturity in a press release, calling him “a 19-year-old going on 29 years old.”
Monahan’s emergence has helped give the Flames a 4-3-2 record to start a season where expectations were low.
However, Calgary’s decision doesn’t make Monahan ineligible to play for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Sweden, as the Flames said they will decide as the tournament gets closer.