Rookies and the 20 Goal Plateau

Byron Bader
January 25 2014 09:18AM

-via halfaxdrunk

Flames' rookie Sean Monahan has been the talk of Flames Town for much of the 2013-14 season. He was selected in the 2013 draft 6th overall by the Flames and made the team immediately out of camp. He did not disappoint in his first few months in the league, putting up 15 points in roughly 20 games. His game has trailed off since then but he's still contributing on a Flames team that doesn't score very much. In fact, he's leading this Flames team in goals with his 14 on the season.

A few weeks ago I noted that, even though Monhan's production has trailed off dramatically, he looks like he should hit the 20 goal mark, barring a significant injury. The Flames haven't had a 20 goal rookie since Dion Phaneuf in 2006 and before that it was Jarome Iginla in 1997. That puts the kid in pretty good company.

Say what you will about Phaneuf but he's one of the highest paid defensemen in the league, plays big minutes and regularly finishes in the top 20 in d-man scoring. And then there's Iginla. We all know and love Jarome for what he did for the Flames for a decade. He may not be elite anymore but he certainly was a big time talent not too long ago.

With this in mind, I was curious how other 20 goal rookies around the league have fared after their rookie campaign. Specifically, I wanted to see what type of player they went on to be. To investigate, I compiled a list of all players that put up 20 or more goals in their rookie campaign, since the 2005 lockout.

THE NUMBERS

Player

Goals

Points

G/P

Year

Draft Year

SH%

Monahan

24

34

70.6%

2014

2013

17.7%

Gallagher*

28

52

53.8%

2013

2010

12.8%

Huberdeau*

24

53

45.3%

2013

2011

12.5%

Read

24

47

51.1%

2012

Undrafted

15.5%

Landeskog

22

52

42.3%

2012

2011

8.1%

Couture

32

56

57.1%

2011

2007

12.6%

Skinner

31

63

49.2%

2011

2010

14.4%

Hall

22

42

52.4%

2011

2010

11.8%

Marchand

21

41

51.2%

2011

2006

14.1%

Ennis

20

49

40.8%

2011

2008

9.5%

Stepan

21

45

46.7%

2011

2008

12.7%

Benn

22

41

53.7%

2011

2007

12.1%

Duchene

24

55

43.6%

2010

2009

13.3%

Tavares

24

54

44.4%

2010

2009

12.9%

Ryan

31

57

54.4%

2009

2005

17.8%

Neal

24

37

64.9%

2009

2005

14.0%

Stamkos

23

46

50.0%

2009

2008

12.7%

Wheeler

21

45

46.7%

2009

2004

14.0%

Grabovski

20

48

41.7%

2009

2005

16.7%

Toews

24

54

44.4%

2008

2006

16.7%

P. Kane

21

72

29.2%

2008

2007

11.0%

Malkin

33

85

38.8%

2007

2006

13.6%

Penner

29

45

64.4%

2007

Undrafted

14.2%

J. Staal

29

42

69.0%

2007

2006

22.1%

Stastny

28

78

35.9%

2007

2005

15.1%

Kopitar

20

51

39.2%

2007

2005

10.4%

Ovechkin

52

106

49.1%

2006

2004

12.2%

Crosby

39

102

38.2%

2006

2005

14.0%

Vanek

25

48

52.1%

2006

2003

12.3%

Carter

23

42

54.8%

2006

2003

12.2%

Higgins

23

38

60.5%

2006

2002

15.5%

Phaneuf

20

49

40.8%

2006

2003

8.3%

Umberger

20

38

52.6%

2006

2001

14.5%

Boyes

26

69

37.7%

2006

2000

12.8%

Yakupov*

29

53

54.7%

2013

2012

21.0%

Grabner

34

52

65.4%

2011

2006

14.9%

Versteeg

22

53

41.5%

2009

2004

15.8%

Berglund

21

47

44.7%

2009

2006

14.7%

Frolik

21

45

46.7%

2009

2006

13.3%

Eaves

20

29

69.0%

2006

2003

20.0%

Bergfors

21

44

47.7%

2010

2005

9.7%

Mueller

22

54

40.7%

2008

2006

10.9%

Wolski

22

50

44.0%

2007

2004

13.3%

Svatos

32

50

64.0%

2006

2001

19.4%

Prucha

30

47

63.8%

2006

2002

23.1%

Average

25.5

52.9

49.51%

 

 

14.1%

In total, the list includes 45 players that put up 20+ goals in their rookie year. The table includes the player, goals (rookie year), points (rookie year), their goal/points ratio, the year they did it, their draft year and their shooting percentage that year. Monahan is highlighted in red at the top with his projected scoring totals for the end of the season, players that regularly play in the top six are highlighted in blue, players playing further down the depth chart are highlighted in pink and players now out of the league are highlighted in grey. The asterix indicates players from the shortened 2012-13 season who's 48 game totals were estimated over 82 games.

What we find is that the vast majority of players, 75% in fact, have gone on to regularly play in the top six. Conversely, 14% are still recognizable players but not top six players and only 11% of the players could be considered a flash in the pan and are now out of the league. This suggests that if a player tallies 20 or more goals in his rookie year, there's an 89% chance you have a player who, at the very least, is going to play significant minutes in the NHL for many years.

1st overall selections like Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby, Tavares, Stamkos and P. Kane all made the list. The list also includes a number of players that have gone on to be very elite players without being drafted 1st overall. Names like Toews, Kopitar, Stastny, Carter, Vanek, Duchene, Skinner and Couture all put up north of 20 goals in their rookie campaign and have all progressed significantly since those outstanding rookie years. Newer players like Landeskog, Gallagher and Huberdeau are all doing well after their 1st year as well. So what does this mean for Monahan? Will he become a good NHLer?

 

Like the players on the list, it's a good bet that Monahan is a good to great player with a long career ahead. But there are a few minor concerns when it comes to Monahan.

For one, he's essentially all goals with very little assists. At this point, 70% of his points have come from goals. That is the highest goals/points ratio on the list. Looking at the list, the players with a goal/point ratio higher than 60% tend to be less elite than their peers (e.g., Dustin Penner, Patrick Eaves and Chris Higgins). However, James Neal also had a G/P ratio over 60% and he's an elite talent especially when coupled with an elite playmaker like Malkin or Crosby. Perhaps Monahan develops into a trigger man like Neal.

The other concern is Monahan's shooting percentage. He scored on about 20% of his shots to start off the season which led to his hot start. That shooting percentage has come down as has his production but it still sits at 17%. Most of the players on the list that turned into top six talent had a shooting percentage right around the typical NHL-wide average of 10%-12%. Marek Svatos and Petr Prucha both had incredibly high shooting percentages their first years. But, today, both are out of the league after only a few years in the NHL.  

Onto the positive side again. Out of the 45 players on the list (not including Monahan), 11 came into the league directly after being drafted. The list consists of Yakupov, Landeskog, Skinner, Hall, Duchene, Tavares, Stamkos, P. Kane, J. Staal, Malkin and Crosby. You could argue with ease that every one of those players is very elite. The only exceptions being perhaps Jordan Staal and Nail Yakupov, who the jury's still out on. This lends support for the argument that Monahan is ready for the NHL and shouldn't have been sent back to juniors. Like his peers in this category, he's got the goods already to do well in the bigs, witnessed by his goal production.  

SUM IT UP

Scoring 20 goals as a rookie, especially a newly drafted rookie, is certainly something to write home about as hitting the feat seems to be partially predictive of the player's future in the NHL. 75% of rookies that scored 20 goals or more since the 2005 lockout have gone on to play in a top six role and 89% have become regular NHLers. Like any top prospect, Flames fans are excited about Monahan and his potential. While Monahan's goal/points ratio and shooting percentage provide a certain caution of his future success, Monahan likely hitting the 20 goal mark is a definite sign of his potential. Based on the players that have hit the 20 goal mark their first season, Monahan is in very good and elite company and, assuming he hits that mark, it's a good bet that he'll be a pretty good player for this Flames team for years to come.

Fb039371a1a1b706383cb72243cb4446
Byron has a background in psychology, economics and business and is a business researcher/data analyst by day. His love for hockey is as deep as the ocean is wide. Tell him your questions and let him into your heart. Twitter: @Baderader; Email: byron.bader@gmail.com
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#1 Kypreos
January 25 2014, 10:18AM
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Good article.

On another bright spot Johnny hockey needs your vote.

http://www.hobeybaker.com/awards/the-hobey-baker-memorial-award/vote

Go vote now and every 24 hours...

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#2 John
January 25 2014, 10:29AM
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This shows the importance of drafting impact players which are usually high draft picks. The flames have hit and missed with drafting in 6th spot because its never certain you can pick up an elite player after the first 2 picks. For 2014, its seems more of a crap shoot, Ekblad seems good but defensemen are more difficult to project, Reinhart I'm not sold on, Bennett could be good. In any case, for a year where Flames are not going anywhere, it would be a shame to win enough games where we aren't picking in the top four.

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#3 coachedpotatoe
January 25 2014, 10:35AM
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Kypreos wrote:

Good article.

On another bright spot Johnny hockey needs your vote.

http://www.hobeybaker.com/awards/the-hobey-baker-memorial-award/vote

Go vote now and every 24 hours...

I agree a good article; hopefully we will be talking about Monahan with the higher end players from this list for years to come. Also hope some of the other prospects can join the list like Johnny hockey and maybe a few others.

I went and voted like you suggested. Engaging fans is great for many things but in the end you need to allow the so called experts to decide. If the purpose of the top 10 is create a list great but in the end it should be the coaches etc. One reason for voting for Johnny is if he wins this award and a national title maybe he leaves BC at the end of the season. Also BC plays Providence again on the 31st.

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#4 suba steve
January 25 2014, 10:36AM
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@Kypreos

It's probably just me, but....

Any award whose presentation is influenced by a bunch of fans (who may or may not have seen a college game this year) voting online on a daily basis...is an award hardly worth winning.

If you feel compelled to vote, be my guest, but I'm getting bored with the "Johnny hockey needs your vote" stuff.

And yes, I am a surly SOB. Enjoy the weekend.

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#6 Johnny Be Gaudreau
January 25 2014, 10:45AM
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I think you also have to consider that Monahan is playing with shall we say not "ELITE" players around him and he's still finding a way to score goals. So I am curious to see how he does when we stick him with some good players around him. It's kinda hard to pass it to joe colborne when he's peeling out of the ozone while we still have puck possession or going behind the net when he should be going to the front. I think Gaudreau coming in the next 2 years will definitely help.

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#7 TDM
January 25 2014, 11:11AM
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Been looking at Bennett fairly closely, like his skill set and pedigree. I'd be pretty ok if that's the player that falls to us at 3, since it's looking more and more like our draft slot. Would be a good fit if we somehow managed to be in the mcdavid sweepstakes, although as bad as Edmonton is that seems unlikely.Love to see a move that nets us a nine or ten slot too as virtaanen looks to have a lot of upside if he can develop consistency.

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#8 TDM
January 25 2014, 11:14AM
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I know people are adamant about getting a d man because of edmonton's follies, and how it takes longer for dmen to develop, but I don't see calgary's defence corps in the same shambles as edmonton's, particularly if they can get Russell resigned

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#9 Tony
January 25 2014, 11:27AM
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Kypreos wrote:

Good article.

On another bright spot Johnny hockey needs your vote.

http://www.hobeybaker.com/awards/the-hobey-baker-memorial-award/vote

Go vote now and every 24 hours...

I don't really see the point of voting either since it only counts for 1% of the final tally in this phase. The coaches have the most say in who makes the final 10.

These 10 will be whittled down to the final 3: "The primary voting in this part of the process is by the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Selection Committee, a geographically balanced group of 27 individuals representing print and electronic sports media, college hockey coaches and officials, and NHL scouts." Fan voting again only counts for 1% in this phase.

I have a hard time believing Gaudreau won't be in the final 10 or 3 if he keeps up this pace.

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#10 suba steve
January 25 2014, 11:40AM
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@Tony

Thanks Tony

That being the case, then the Hobey Baker IS still an award worth winning, since the fan voting is more of a publicity grab than a real influence on the award presentation. Though winning it doesn't automatically guarantee a long and prosperous NHL career, as Chris Marinucci will confirm. Good luck JG.

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#11 BurningSensation
January 25 2014, 11:46AM
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Solid article

I can see Calgary drafting another C this year (Reinhart, Draisaitl, Bennett), and then returning that player to junior to help them develop and to increase our chances of landing McDavid.

If Ekblad is #1 (and I think he is), and Calgary doesn't have the top pick, I highly suspect our target is Max Power's little brother.

I have to say I am surprised a little at Monahan's goal production. He came highly regarded as a playmaker more than a shooter, so his Cy Young numbers are a bit of a shock. I suspect that his assist totals will eventually rise, but I wonder if there is a reason for concern.

That all said, it is clear to me that even if Monahan maxes out as a David Legwand type of C, he is still an important piece of the Flames puzzle moving forward.

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#12 seve927
January 25 2014, 11:51AM
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@TDM

The Flames are now 6-3-2 with all of Russell, Gio, Wideman and Brodie in the lineup. I think that's more than just a little bit coincidence, but I do think they are a much better team when they can put those four out for a total of 80+ minutes a night (Wideman's recent struggles notwithstanding).

I think I would try to use Hudler's season to get a high profile young defenceman such as a Madison Bowey or Josh Morrissey. And maybe swap one of the dozen or so extraneous left wingers we have for another right shot D like a Steve Santini or Alex Petrovic.

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#13 Steve
January 25 2014, 11:55AM
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I think we should be picking top 2 with a shot at winning 1st overall. Can some please explain to me how it is that the oilers are STILL this bad?!!!! I'm getting sick and tired of seeing these guys bottom out for top picks. Is that the strategy!? Like common, win some f'in games already. MacT couldnt be that stupid to think ference, belov and the Russian were going to make their defence better then last yr, Could he?? They don't deserve a shot at their 4th 1st overall in 5 yrs. the league should do something. It's the same BS routine. Get badly out played and then try hard at the end after the other team has given up and has 2points in the bag. Let a different team who's starting heir rebuilds have a shot at 1st overall. It's been something like 8 yrs since Sam gagne was drafted 5th and they had 3 1st rounders as well. I know it's a sorry excuse for an nhl team but I for 1 am just fed up with them hanging around looking for 1st overall. They were at least competitive last year and once they realized they weren't making the playoffs, the swan dive to the bottom began! If they didn't win that last game they would have picked ahead of us again!! This just looks looks like intentional tanking....or maybe they are really that inept?

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#14 TDM
January 25 2014, 12:01PM
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seve927 wrote:

The Flames are now 6-3-2 with all of Russell, Gio, Wideman and Brodie in the lineup. I think that's more than just a little bit coincidence, but I do think they are a much better team when they can put those four out for a total of 80+ minutes a night (Wideman's recent struggles notwithstanding).

I think I would try to use Hudler's season to get a high profile young defenceman such as a Madison Bowey or Josh Morrissey. And maybe swap one of the dozen or so extraneous left wingers we have for another right shot D like a Steve Santini or Alex Petrovic.

Several, Agreed that it's no coincidence that the d core is better when everyone is healthy. I think it goes without saying that the dmen have value to each other in that they help slot the pairings properly. I do like the idea of trying to flip hudlers season because although I've really liked his game and consistency, it's unlikely that subsequent seasons will be as we'll put together

Steve, I'm absolutely resigned to Edmonton not catching us... It gave me the red ass for quite a while, but more and more as I read the venom filled ON message boards, I'm learning to embrace the honour of how utterly incompetent that organization has become from Katz on down

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#15 seve927
January 25 2014, 12:09PM
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@TDM

I think I kind of came across backwards. I do think they're much better with that top 4, but I was meaning to say I don't think they're a .700 hockey team with that top 4, and that it is a bit of a concidence (or probably better put just result of a small sample size).

Also, I could see hanging on to Hudler as a piece to use at the draft, if there's someone willing to trade their first, and someone the Flames would really like (I'm thinking Haydn Fleury around the 8-12 spot) still available. Hudler's contract and the season he's having combine to make him a pretty valuable commodity I would think.

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#16 TDM
January 25 2014, 12:18PM
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@seve927

Gotcha, thanks for the clarification. I would agree that they're not.700 with that core, but .700 is probably a ways off, and I'm just not sold on ekblad. Don't get me wrong, I think he's a good player, but I think he provides more value to edmonton's situation than ours. As for hudler, given your points, I would suggest he holds more value than Cammy even though Cammy's contract status makes him a guy you kind of need to move for some return. That being said, I wouldn't move hudler for the sake of moving him... Only for a quality return that like you suggested

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#17 TDM
January 25 2014, 12:21PM
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On an unrelated note, there was a poster on ON saying that security was checking posters of fans as they came in and confiscating ones denned "inappropriate" read critical. What a cluster fu$@ that organization has become when they see themselves as above criticism

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#18 BurningSensation
January 25 2014, 12:33PM
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@Steve

"Can some please explain to me how it is that the oilers are STILL this bad?!!!! I'm getting sick and tired of seeing these guys bottom out for top picks. Is that the strategy!? Like common, win some f'in games already. MacT couldnt be that stupid to think ference, belov and the Russian were going to make their defence better then last yr, Could he??"

The Oilers are very, very, very bad. So bad, they weren't even aware of how much they actually sucked.

I do believe MacT genuinely believed he was improving the team by adding Belov, Ference and Grebeshekov. And he was probably right. However, what he failed to understand is that while adding those guys to the Oilers D improved the D, it was not by any measure enough to make them competitive.

The Oilers are missing;

a #1 or #2 C (depending on how good you think The Nuge is right now), a top 6 winger with size and scoring ability, at least 3 defenseman who are average or better, and a legit #1 goaltender they can build around.

They are among the smallest and lightest teams in the league, and they continue to think Sam Gagner is a useful hockey player despite being little more than Rob Schremp without the balance issues.

Schadenfroiler!

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#19 MichaelD
January 25 2014, 12:56PM
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Anyone see O'Brien is on waivers, I guess he's on the way out

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#20 Baalzamon
January 25 2014, 01:07PM
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TDM wrote:

I know people are adamant about getting a d man because of edmonton's follies, and how it takes longer for dmen to develop, but I don't see calgary's defence corps in the same shambles as edmonton's, particularly if they can get Russell resigned

One thing people clamouring for Ekblad (myself included, at times) continue to forget is that drafting BPA (Jankowski notwithstanding) affords one the luxury of trading surplus for need down the line.

For example: Hudler & Baertschi for Adam Larsson & 2nd rounder

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#21 coachedpotatoe
January 25 2014, 01:17PM
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seve927 wrote:

The Flames are now 6-3-2 with all of Russell, Gio, Wideman and Brodie in the lineup. I think that's more than just a little bit coincidence, but I do think they are a much better team when they can put those four out for a total of 80+ minutes a night (Wideman's recent struggles notwithstanding).

I think I would try to use Hudler's season to get a high profile young defenceman such as a Madison Bowey or Josh Morrissey. And maybe swap one of the dozen or so extraneous left wingers we have for another right shot D like a Steve Santini or Alex Petrovic.

We talk a great deal on this site about avoiding the mistakes the SpOiled have made; such as making sure we surround our young players with a veteran core unlike the team up north has done and then you talk about trading Hudler for young defencemen. Hudler has played a significant role by mentoring Monahan(off the ice) and playing with Monahan and would not be easily replaced. I would really have to take that into account before I traded him at this point. I do agree that because of the season he has had he might be the best trade bait we have.

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#22 Benny
January 25 2014, 01:35PM
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I'd be willing to wager that of the reason Monohan has so many more goals than assists is that, well, he pays for the Calgary Flames. When a rookie (and a true rookie to boot) leads your teams in scoring, I think that tells you his teammates aren't very good. My two cents

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#23 seve927
January 25 2014, 01:57PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

We talk a great deal on this site about avoiding the mistakes the SpOiled have made; such as making sure we surround our young players with a veteran core unlike the team up north has done and then you talk about trading Hudler for young defencemen. Hudler has played a significant role by mentoring Monahan(off the ice) and playing with Monahan and would not be easily replaced. I would really have to take that into account before I traded him at this point. I do agree that because of the season he has had he might be the best trade bait we have.

I don't know much about Hudler's off ice role. If it's significant, sure that comes into consideration. I would think retaining Stajan would be sufficient for that purpose. I just think that all that's really missing from this prospect pool is a high end D in that 20-23 range. And some right handed shots.

I'd like to see them resign Stempniak too. Ideally bring him back after getting something for him in a trade.

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#24 MichaelD
January 25 2014, 02:25PM
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@seve927

At the beginning of the year I had Stempniak penciled in as a vet to keep, but with the Stajan resigning, Hulder's solid play this year, and Stempniak's recent disappearance. I feel like Stempniak should be in the group of players that are shopped at the deadline as rentals.

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#25 Jeff In Lethbridge
January 25 2014, 03:55PM
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When you consider Monahan missed a few weeks then came back and played in a walking boot... i think that is a significant factor as well and makes his accomplshment all the more significant

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#26 coachedpotatoe
January 25 2014, 03:55PM
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seve927 wrote:

I don't know much about Hudler's off ice role. If it's significant, sure that comes into consideration. I would think retaining Stajan would be sufficient for that purpose. I just think that all that's really missing from this prospect pool is a high end D in that 20-23 range. And some right handed shots.

I'd like to see them resign Stempniak too. Ideally bring him back after getting something for him in a trade.

Monahan lived with him through training camp if that's not mentoring time I'm not sure what is. I don't disagree that we as missing a Dman in that range but TJB is I think only 24. Also we should be giving more cosideration to Billins, he has been great for the Heat (AHL allstar) and was an AHL allstar last year and he is 23. However back to Hudler, I would consider trading him but the offer would have to be dang good.

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#27 piscera.infada
January 25 2014, 05:12PM
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TDM wrote:

Gotcha, thanks for the clarification. I would agree that they're not.700 with that core, but .700 is probably a ways off, and I'm just not sold on ekblad. Don't get me wrong, I think he's a good player, but I think he provides more value to edmonton's situation than ours. As for hudler, given your points, I would suggest he holds more value than Cammy even though Cammy's contract status makes him a guy you kind of need to move for some return. That being said, I wouldn't move hudler for the sake of moving him... Only for a quality return that like you suggested

I agree with you on Ekblad, but for a different reason. Yes, the kid's been dominant. The issue I have with him, is if he is dominant precisely because of his stature. The guy's 6'4", 217 at age 17. That's huge for CHL players. It makes me wonder if that will translate well to the NHL. Don't get me wrong, he'll be an NHL player - but is there much more there? Is there more growth? Is he more likely to hit a wall once he's forced to play against guys he doesn't automatically physically dominate? I'm not saying it's a for-sure-ity, but it's something to digest.

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#28 coachedpotatoe
January 25 2014, 05:23PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I agree with you on Ekblad, but for a different reason. Yes, the kid's been dominant. The issue I have with him, is if he is dominant precisely because of his stature. The guy's 6'4", 217 at age 17. That's huge for CHL players. It makes me wonder if that will translate well to the NHL. Don't get me wrong, he'll be an NHL player - but is there much more there? Is there more growth? Is he more likely to hit a wall once he's forced to play against guys he doesn't automatically physically dominate? I'm not saying it's a for-sure-ity, but it's something to digest.

In some ways he reminds of Dion, his first few years he looked great but as his peers grew into their bodies and became men the gap shrunk and now he not the beast anymore.

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#29 Kypreos
January 25 2014, 08:03PM
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Tony wrote:

I don't really see the point of voting either since it only counts for 1% of the final tally in this phase. The coaches have the most say in who makes the final 10.

These 10 will be whittled down to the final 3: "The primary voting in this part of the process is by the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Selection Committee, a geographically balanced group of 27 individuals representing print and electronic sports media, college hockey coaches and officials, and NHL scouts." Fan voting again only counts for 1% in this phase.

I have a hard time believing Gaudreau won't be in the final 10 or 3 if he keeps up this pace.

Lighten up and all the rest of you dead beats.

Nothing wrong with showing your support for a future hopeful even if doesn't mean squat!

Just go vote.....

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#30 RKD
January 25 2014, 11:59PM
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Monahan is one of the best things to happen to the Calgary Flames organization in a long time. The brass knows if you are rebuilding you have to sell something to your fan base. Even though he went sixth, to me Sean is a top 5 player. He played very well on a very bad Ottawa team and now leads the Flames in goal scoring in his first year. Also, Monahan>Lindholm that is all.

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#31 Burnward
January 26 2014, 01:39AM
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Alls I know is that Monahan is legit. The rest don't matter.

Love this kid.

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