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Montreal Canadiens

Former NHL Coach Predicts Monahan’s Role, Praises Hughes



Montreal Canadiens

Sean Monahan’s former coach with the Calgary Flames believes he will have an impact in the Montreal Canadiens’ top-nine this season.

In a recent interview with BPM Sports, former NHL coach Bob Hartley was asked to discuss what the Montreal Canadiens have in Sean Monahan. Having coached Monahan for three seasons while at the bar of the Calgary Flames between 2013 and 2016, Hartley didn’t mince words about where he saw Monahan fitting in the lineup.

“Sean Monahan is going to be a second or third-line centre for the Montreal Canadiens,” said Hartley regarding what he thinks the Canadiens got in their trade with the Calgary Flames. “He’s had some pretty debilitating injuries over the last three seasons, which really slowed him down. He can play on the penalty kill, on the power play and has incredible vision. He’s also a really good passer and has some soft hands around the net.”

Hartley believed that Monahan could be a very versatile player and his career 50% efficiency in the faceoff circle could have him slot into the lineup down the middle. However, he also pointed out that Monahan’s injuries, specifically those to each of his hips, might slow down Monahan, and could make it difficult for him to play at centre, having to cover so much ice in a game.

“His speed has never been his strong suit, but with those injuries to his hip, he may have lost some speed,” said Hartley on the weakness in Monahan’s game that fans should be aware of. “However, I’m still excited to see what he can do with the Canadiens; I texted him last week and he was really excited and he’s also a great person in the room. It’s a great acquisition.”

Masterclass Move By Montreal Canadiens

Regardless of where Monahan plays, Hartley believed that the trade with Calgary was a masterclass move by general manager Kent Hughes. In his estimation, Hughes was able to take full advantage of Flames general manager Brad Treliving’s desperation to sign Nazem Kadri and extracting a first round pick was simply great value.

“Kent Hughes kind of played the same hand the Golden Knights did when they came into the league. ‘I’ll help you, but here’s the price’ and they paid it,” said Hartley on Hughes’ timely positioning toward the Calgary Flames. “I don’t think there were many other teams in a position to help the Flames and absorb the cap hit of a Sean Monahan.”

Hartley believes that Monahan, a player he believes rises to every challenge, will do well during his time in Montreal and will make the trade in question look even better when all is said and done. It’s now just a question of fit, which head coach Martin St. Louis will have the luxury of choosing this season, with all the forwards he now has at his disposal.