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Monahan Ready For Healthy Reset With Canadiens

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Montreal Canadiens

New Montreal Canadiens centre Sean Monahan has been through the frustrating and depressing grind of coming back from hip surgery and he’s ready for a healthy reset with the Montreal Canadiens.

“I think this summer is a big one for me,” Monahan told the media in a Zoom call Thursday night after the Canadiens acquired him and a conditional 1st round pick in 2025 from the Calgary Flames earlier in the day. “I got the surgery earlier than I did the year before, so I’ve put in a lot of work this summer and right now I’m back on the ice four times a week. It’s been a long time coming for me to feel healthy, so I’m excited to play hockey again at a high level and I’m really excited to join the Canadiens.”

Three years into his current seven-year, $44.6 million ($6.3M AAV), contract, Monahan looked like the superstar the Flames thought he could be when they drafted him sixth overall at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He had a career-high in goals (34) and assists (48) for 82 points in the 2018-19 season and appeared to be on his way to stardom. He had already reached the 30-goal plateau twice and scored 20 or more goals in each of his first five seasons in the NHL. Then the injuries, specifically the hip injuries, kicked in and it’s been a frustrating and steady decline for Monahan since then.

“I probably could have got these things fixed a long time ago, it was my personal choice to play through it, and it finally took a toll,” Monahan acknowledged. “Getting it fixed and I guess prioritizing myself, getting myself back together, it’s a good feeling, and like I said, I’m really excited to play high-level hockey again.”

Monahan expressed the same optimism to Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes after the trade Thursday but Hughes indicated the comeback trail for Monahan with the Montreal Canadiens could be delayed a bit.

“He sounds incredibly encouraged that for the first time in a long time he’s going to play a season healthy,” Hughes said. “I don’t know if that’s going to be Game 1 of the season or if it’s going to be Game 4 of the season. But he feels like even today not at 100 per cent, he’s way better than he’s been the last few years.”

Whether he’s still rehabbing or not when training camp for the Montreal Canadiens kicks off next month, Sean Monahan already has someone to lean on in the Canadiens dressing room. Monahan and Canadiens forward Paul Byron played two seasons together with the Flames and ironically but sadly, Byron is also going through a frustrating rehab process from a lower-body injury that may also keep him out for the start of training camp. Still the familiarity with Byron and Jake Evans, whom Monahan has trained with, will make his transition easier.

“I played with Paul Byron for a couple years in Calgary and I actually used to drive him around quite a bit,” said Monahan. “Jake Evans, I train with him every day, so I see Jake basically every day in the summer … I’ve met (Brendan) Gallagher a few times, and you know what? Basically the whole team has reached out now and they seem like an awesome group.”

Monahan is also excited about the chance to play for Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis who revitalized the Canadiens attitude and game after replacing former Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme last Feb. 9.

“You come into work, but you have fun doing it,” Monahan said. “All I’ve heard is nothing but good things.”

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habbernack

GHG. They’re not going to tank. The players want to win. Also IMO with the number of 1st rd pick Hughes is accumulating they will have quality picks to either use or trade for someone they could “Let’s make a deal” for. Young guys with experience. I think we will be in the playoffs sooner than later. They have to extend Allen

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