Flames GM Feaster no fan of ‘face of the franchise’ talk
Monahan just another one of the players the organization will need to be successful as a unit, hockey boss stresses
This player is a prime prospect. One of the best on the planet, say scouts.
So fine is Sean Monahan that, as a teenager, he may crack the lineup of the Calgary Flames this fall — possibly as a top-six forward.
All good, but there is one line that Jay Feaster refuses to cross.
Making one boy responsible for propping up an entire organization.
“I, candidly, like the fact that there’s no face of the franchise,” the Flames general manager said Thursday at WinSport’s Ice Complex. “I think the face of the franchise ought to be the Flaming C, and the goal of the franchise ought to be to win a Stanley Cup. The whole is supposed to be greater than the sum of its parts.
“I don’t care about individual superstars. The only agenda I care about is the Flaming C. We want guys who want to play for the crest on the front, not the self-aggrandizement of the nameplate on the back,
“I recognize that that’s what fans and media will look to do — to try to put that face (on someone).”
During Wednesday’s fitness testing, the Flames had made a single player available for videos and photos — Monahan. The result concerned Feaster.
“I felt bad for Sean (on Thursday morning) when I saw the paper,” he said. “(Referred to as) the face of the franchise — and it looks like he’s about to vomit on the (stationary) bike ride. I didn’t know if that was the best way to portray the poor, young man.
“We have a number of really good, mature, young guys. Look at a guy like Sven Baertschi. Look at a guy like (Mark) Jankowski coming along. A Jon Gillies. There are some good kids. Again, it isn’t about the face of the franchise — it’s about the Flaming C.”
The sixth overall pick at the National Hockey League’s draft, Monahan, wearing No. 23, experienced his first on-ice session Thursday, then his first post-practice media scrum.
“He knows what he wants,” said Feaster. “He’s been focused on being an NHL player. No question about his maturity. We thought he demonstrated that throughout the season . . . what kind of a player he is, what kind of a leader.
“He’s been everything that we expected him to be.”
As captain of the Ottawa 67’s — the worst outfit in the Ontario Hockey League — Monahan played hard, putting up another 78-point season.
“To go through that — and to go through that in your draft year — there were a lot of times when he could just have packed it in and felt sorry for himself,” said Feaster. “But that’s not his character, not what he’s made of. I think every experience he’s had this year, the suspension, not making the (national junior) team . . . we thought he handled that every well.”
Where Monahan — or fellow hotshot centre Corban Knight — slots in remains to be seen, of course. But regardless of what happens at main camp, they’re very close to breathing big-league air.
“All you have to do is look at the depth chart,” said Feaster, who counts Matt Stajan, Mikael Backlund, Roman Horak, Max Reinhart, Blair Jones among his experienced pivots. “That’s the great part about these kids. They’re smart enough to do that.”
Monahan, six foot two and 187 pounds, turns 19 on Oct. 12 — at which point in time the NHL’s regular season will be in full swing.
“There’s tremendous opportunity within our organization right now,” said Feaster. “And that what’s we’re saying . . . to all of our guys. We said to them at our opening-night meeting on Tuesday: ‘Recognize and seize the opportunity here. Don’t leave anything in the locker-room.’ ”
C-NOTES: The Flames continue to negotiate with restricted free agent D T.J. Brodie. “We’ve made offers on a one-year deal, a multi-year deal,” said Feaster. “It’s a goal and a priority to get Brodes signed. We’re pretty confident we will.”
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