The 2013 NHL Entry Draft is going to be a huge one for New Jersey. Not only is the event taking place at the Prudential Center in Newark, but the Devils will also have the ninth overall pick in the first round. It has already been announced by Lou Lamoriello that the Devils will keep their first round pick, which isn't much of a surprise. While missing the playoffs was a huge bummer, the draft class this year is a deep one, and there is potential for a great player with the earlier pick. Until June 30, we will be looking at many prospects who could go in the ninth spot, along with possible later picks.
The first draft prospect we're covering is Sean Monahan. His name has come up more often as a Devils pick as their draft spot has solidified. He is a solid center for the Ottowa 67's and has a lot of the scoring power the Devils desperately need.
Who is Sean Monahan?
Sean Monahan is the fifth ranked North American skater coming in at 6'2" and 187 lbs. The Brampton, Ontario native is a strong center known for his skill on both ends of the ice.
Playing for the Ottowa 67's was not an easy feat last season - the team is rebuilding and won only 16 games out of 68 in 2012-2013. This brings to light how special his 31 goals and 47 assists in 58 games were. While his skating isn't out of this world, he makes smart plays with the puck and uses his hockey smarts to his advantage.
As captain of the team, Monahan lead the 67's in scoring with 78 points - 27 points more than the second highest total. He also led the team in goals with 31 - ten more than second place. Although the season was an extremely disappointing one, Monahan was a bright spot in the 58 games he played in. In the OHL, he was 15th overall in points.
Aside from being a scoring threat, Monahan seems to have a lot of character. He takes his role on the team seriously and wants to get better every day. Being the captain of the team has meant a lot to him, and he seems to have a great attitude about it,
"Yeah, I like [the pressure of being captain] a lot. It's pretty special for me to wear that letter and I think that I do everything I can to wear it with pride. I try and be a leader on and off the ice every day, regardless of the game or practice, or even just a dinner with the boys, I try to take charge, make sure that everything goes well, and that everyone gets along."
It is worth noting that early in the 2012-2013 season, Monahan was suspended for ten games due to an elbow to the head which led to an injury. Monahan is not known for being a dirty player - in 151 career OHL games he has received just 78 penalty minutes. Without those missed games, he could have finished higher in the OHL scoring race, and padded his lead on his own team substantially.
As a guy who is more on the shy side (which you will hear more about in a video below), Monahan has kept himself out of the limelight - which is perfect for a possible future Devil. He is all about the team, and doesn't need to have the spotlight on him constantly.
What experts have said about Sean Monahan:
While he hasn't gotten as much attention as other stars coming out of the draft, I haven't found one negative point about his game that wasn't followed up with at least three positives. In the most recent NHL.com mock drafts, Monahan was picked by the Devils in two of the three trials. Adam Kimelman, who put Monahan with the Flames sixth pick said,
"Smart, skilled center plays a 200-foot game and can be the foundation of the Flames' rebuilding effort."
"Two-way forward possesses all the necessary tools; won a silver medal at the 2013 World Junior Championship."
"If this high-tempo, two-way forward is still on the board at this spot, it would be a steal for the Devils."
All of these quotes bring up things the Devils need - scoring forward who is responsible in his own end.
Craig Button of the NHL Network spoke of Monahan's versatility, which showed during the Canada-Russia Challenge. It's always great to have a player who can be on the ice in any situation, and that's exactly what he can do:
"He's capable of being a No. 1 [NHL] center. He played out of position at times, with different players and on the power play. He was exceptional. He started out as the 13th forward and the plan was to move him in and out, but by the end of the tournament he was a prominent forward."
"He has size, skill, vision, but I think the better part is his character -- how hard he works and how much he wants to win and how he prepares himself for games. I think he presents a pretty good package, he has a history of winning, he has a history of playing well in big games and I think those are the things that people like the most about Sean."
As a player, Monahan is often compared to Eric Staal, but he likes to compare his game to that of Jonathan Toews. Both are exceptional forwards who have skills many feel the Devils should look for early in this draft.
Perhaps the most complimentary quotes are those from his teammates. They love him as a player and person. Rookie defenseman Jonathan Duchesne said of his captain,
"He’s great in the room and he leads by example a lot. When you’re around a guy like that you just want to push yourself and make yourself better. He is what every hockey team needs."
Here are a few videos that highlight Monahan's skill set. First, let's take a look at his draft profile from NHL.com. It has a few details about his play and personality.
Here is a look at Monahan from Mike Morreale of NHL.com.
Finally, here is an interview with Sean after a 3-0 win over Team Cherry in the CHL Top Prospects Game early this year.
This isn't a video, but it's an audio interview with Monahan about his season and his thoughts on the draft.
My thoughts on Monahan:
I think I've made it pretty clear throughout this write up that I'm a fan of Monahan. I like his style of play along with his work ethic. He seems to have made the most of his opportunity as the captain of a team in the process of rebuilding. Leading a team in points is impressive, but leading a team in points by more than 20 is something else.
What seems to be his biggest weakness is his skating ability. While he may not be the best skater in the draft, he makes up for it with his skill and ability to understand the game. This strength helps his find the back of the net on a consistent basis.
My favorite aspect of Monahan's game is that he can play in any situation. Those kinds of players are not easy to come by, and the upside to such a responsible guy is huge.
Is he who I would select with the ninth overall pick in the draft? If he is available, he is definitely one of my favorites for the slot. I think he is a safe choice that could fill a desperate need upfront. While he is a center, he is a versatile player that could fill most any role needed. If he hasn't been picked by the time New Jersey get's their chance, I would be quite pleased to see him in a Devils uniform.
I've thrown a lot of information at you about Sean Monahan, but what do you think? Do you think he will be a good fit in New Jersey? Would you like to see him in a Devils uniform? What do you like about him the most? What worries you about him as a prospect? Feel free to answer these questions and discuss what you think of Sean Monahan in the comments below. In addition, if you have any other interesting information on him, please feel free to share it. Thanks for reading!