Monahan not only bulked up physically, he also boned up on what top NHL centres do well
Off-season was a cram session for busy Calgary Flames first rounder
As one of the top centres on the Ottawa 67’s roster, Sean Monahan made a point of studying others in his position around the Ontario Hockey League.
So it should come as no surprise that when the Calgary Flames prizes prospect left development camp in July, he picked up the same research habits and started collecting information on pivots in the National Hockey League.
“Throughout the summer, I’ve been watching a little bit of video on certain guys in the NHL and what they do,” Monahan was saying as the team’s rookies reported for fitness testing at the University of Calgary on Wednesday. “I think you’ve gotta be smart and treat it as a game within a game.”
Monahan’s penchant for winning those games within games, of course, is one of the main reasons that enticed the Flames to select him sixth overall at the 2013 NHL draft in June.
And, good news, the 18-year-old took his summer seriously in other ways to help his cause. Working on his leg strength and core after he left Calgary, he packed on 11 pounds of muscle to help his efforts in the faceoff circle (which means he weighed in on Wednesday at an even 200).
But Monahan knows the only way to improve is to get experience; experience that could come sooner rather than later, considering his chances of cracking the Flames’ roster this 2013-14 season.
Not that he’s investing his three-year entry level contract in Calgary’s real estate market — yet.
“(It’s about) knowing their tendencies and knowing what they have,” he explained on Monday. “You need to have good timing and good techniques on the draws. At the end of the day, you have to be confident at what you’re going to do and have good communication with your linemates and defencemen. It all comes down to compete.
“You’ve gotta want to win the puck.”
Truth be told, there were no pucks or faceoff circles in the immediate vicinity on Wednesday.
That comes on Thursday as the Flames rookies arrive in Penticton for the opening game of the Young Stars tournament against the Edmonton Oilers prospects. Which Monahan knows is an important step in taking draws in the NHL on a full-time basis. And given the current state of the organization, that’s a possibility for the young up-and-coming centreman.
“All the prospects are going and you want to make an impression,” he said. “We’ll be playing against the top prospects from other teams so I think you want to make the best impression you can on the organization.”
Since the organization drafted him, however, it seems like Monahan has been continuously making impressions. At June’s draft. At Flames development camp. At Hockey Canada’s world junior team camp. At the NHLPA’s annual rookie showcase.
And now, with only one weekend of real downtime (he spent some time with his billets at their cabin in Quebec), he’s back at it.
“I guess that’s just what goes along with being a high draft pick,” Monahan said. “Obviously, this is what I’ve been preparing for all summer. At some point in the summer, you get tired of just training and you want to play hockey.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to show I’m ready ... I’m very excited for this opportunity.”
ICE CHIPS . . .
The Flames announced Morgan Klimchuk (their 28th overall selection from the 2013 NHL draft) will not participate in training camp with the Flames. He is expected to miss two to four weeks with an abdominal wall strain he suffered during a pre-season game with the Regina Pats, his Western Hockey League club. “Something that has been bugging me since (Regina Pats) camp,” Klimchuk said Wednesday. “Through medicals today, I just decided it was better to rest it a bit.” . . . Ryan Howse, the Flames’ third-round pick from 2009, has been suspended for failing to report to training camp . . . Without those two players, it explains Tuesday’s additions of RW Dylan Smoskowitz (who skated for the OHL Mississauga Steelheads last winter) and C Andy Taranto (who’s a 25-year-old graduate of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks) to Calgary’s Young Stars roster.
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