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Monahan’s Resurgence With Canadiens Brings Added Benefit

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Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St-Louis

The Montreal Canadiens haven’t yet decided what they’ll do with Sean Monahan before the NHL Trade Deadline, but his resurgence in Montreal has an added benefit that could last beyond this spring.

Monahan’s return to form and the way he’s been put in a position to succeed is a refreshing sight, as Montreal was often viewed as the place where offensive players would go to fizzle out over the last two decades.

Outside of rare instances like Tyler Toffoli or Eric Cole, very few free agents or veteran players acquire via trade (think Alexei Kovalev) were able to turn it around in Montreal and thrive.

However, General Manager Kent Hughes and Head Coach Martin St-Louis have made it their mission to make Montreal a fun place to play, one where they could optimize the performance of their players.

As of late, they’ve promoted more offensive creativity from their youngsters, put lots of effort into getting their veterans to diversify their games and have instilled an enjoyable culture within the dressing room.

One of the players that has benefited the most from this process as of late has been Sean Monahan.

The 28-year-old has had a terrible time playing hockey over the last couple of years, has found a new home in Montreal, and is healthy and motivated to perform.

He looks revitalized under St-Louis and has quickly become an important member of the team, as they continue to shock the NHL with their surprising start.

In a recent episode of 32 Thoughts, NHL Insiders Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek talked about how his newfound health and Montreal’s environment have led to a resurgence in Monahan’s career.

“Hockey became a chore for Sean Monahan because of all the injuries, “said Friedman. “For the first time in a long time, he looks like he’s really enjoying it again.”

Monahan’s return to form acts as a giant neon sign shining over the Montreal Canadiens that read “you can have fun in Montreal, even when they aren’t a competitive team”.

Combined with the exciting young core led Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, stories like that of Monahan’s, whether he’s extended or traded, paint Montreal in a far better light than it has in the past, which could be of service down the line.

It will certainly be of value to them in upcoming summers, as the Montreal Canadiens will be freeing up significant cap space, which could allow them to carefully target and attract some valuable pieces they feed they need to add in order to become contenders.

Making Montreal a desirable place to play is half the battle when it comes to attracting the right kind of players.

It could be via the free agent market, but could also be by identifying and trading for soon-to-be restricted or unrestricted free agents that would be willing to sign long-term in Montreal.

It’s a culture change that is being felt across the league. One where top players can come in, find success and play in a constructive environment.

With Sean Monahan continuing to find success early on, he’s quickly becoming the poster boy for the change in perception Hughes and St-Louis are trying to bring in.

 

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