sean monahan

John Scott’s corsi percentage this year is 38.1.

The reason that Scott’s corsi percentage is in any way important to anyone outside of the Buffalo Sabres’ organization, and is in any way germane to the point about to be made, is that it’s pathetic on a grand scale. This is a remarkably low number even for a player generally considered to be the worst in the entire National Hockey League at the actual playing of hockey. More often, even a goon’s numbers will hover somewhere around 45 percent. That’s a player getting dominated in no uncertain terms, ranking him 725th among the 745 players league-wide who have played in at least four games this season.

Meanwhile, Sean Monahan, the Calgary Flames first-round pick in last year’s draft who made the NHL team despite all reason stating that he should have been sent back to the OHL, has a corsi-for percentage of 41.3 percent. To his credit, it used to be much higher.

The reason it’s sinking into Scott territory these days is that he broke his foot in late November and missed two and a half weeks. Tough bounce for the kid, who’d been a little better than OK in getting some sheltered and advantageous usage out of coach Bob Hartley; soft competition, lots of offensive zone starts, power play time, decent linemates, and so on.

He was making the most of it, too. In his first 24 NHL games, as a kid who was barely 19, he had nine goals and 15 points, which isn’t all that bad, considering he’s on the appallingly bad Calgary Flames.

But then he came back from that injury, and he hasn’t in any way looked good enough to be on the NHL roster, despite getting much of the same usage as before.

Over the weekend, Tyler Dellow published the 10-game rolling corsi Monahan has posted all season (http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=6524), and one can’t help but notice that he crashed hard from about Game No. 22 on. Some of those contests in the run-up to his foot injury were against only mediocre-or-worse opponents (Columbus, Florida, Winnipeg), but the injury itself came against the Blackhawks. That’ll hurt almost anyone’s possession numbers.

However, in the eight games since his return (and admittedly this is a small sample size), his corsi percentage has been in the toilet. It sits at just 26.7, as he’s been on the ice for only 35 Calgary shot attempts in 80.6 minutes of even-strength TOI, and 96 opponent shot attempts in that same timeframe. This is a remarkable rate of ceding possession, as the corsi against per 60 he’s allowing (71.5) would, if he were an NHL team unto himself, be dead last in the league. Prior to last night’s games, the Toronto Maple Leafs sat 30th at 66.9 attempts allowed per 60 minutes of even-strength play.

Again, these are numbers which stand out as being exceptionally pathetic, and especially because the good zone starts and easy competition continue to roll in. No team could ever enjoy conditions this favorable.

It is therefore reasonable to assume that the reason he’s been this bad given the circumstances, is that he’s still feeling the effects of his foot injury. He can get his skates on and get around out there, but the latter is not happening well enough that he can have any sort of positive impact for his team. It’s no mystery why, then, his points per game has dropped from .625 — around the level of Nazem Kadri, Max Pacioretty and Wayne Simmonds, among others — to .125 (one goal and no assists in eight games). Forwards in that area are guys like Jim Slater, Dominic Moore, and BJ Crombeen. None of those guys get the coaches’ coddling that Monahan does.

It’s been a more than two weeks of this kid getting buried, and if it’s because the franchise feels they owe it to their season ticket holders to parade Monahan out there every game then that’s idiotic. If it’s not, then why have him out there at all? What’s the point? It’s probably not helping him to move around limply and ineffectually out there, hardly ever getting anything toward the net, and being hemmed into his own zone. It certainly doesn’t help the team, because the average AHL call-up is going to be far more effective with those 10-plus minutes of even-strength ice time per night. It likely doesn’t help his foot heal more quickly, either.

What it will do, however, is continue to make the Flames appear foolish for sticking to their guns about keeping him with the big club. Despite the significant production — brought about by a massive shooting percentage and PDO — he was in over his head before this injury hobbled his ability to influence a game positively. Now, he’s a black hole every time he’s sent over the boards. There’s just no reason for any of this.

That having been said, it’s not a permanent thing. He was always going to regress from his hot start of 10 points in his first 12 games, and his shot rate is predictably way, way down. But this is just cruel and unusual, and irresponsible of Hartley and Brian Burke to keep allowing it to happen. For an organization that, in the wake of firing its GM, should be looking for ways to minimize reasons to criticize it, this is remarkably tone deaf.

The Flames have six of the last seven games, and been shut out in three of those. The last time they had a regulation win was Dec. 4. Does Monahan being handled properly change that? Tough to say. But it’s sure not helping.

Comments (9)

  1. The flames got excited when he started hot, so they kept him up. Now they have to pay him NHL salary, so they’re plaing him. It’s stupid that they’re hurting their future in a year that they don’t stand a chance anyway.

  2. I have seen a couple games at the dome this past month. He looks horrible (slow), so does most of the rest of the team (as always). Stupid to have him up this year, nowhere else for him to play now though.
    You are bang on with why he was kept up and is playing though an injury which clearly isn’t healed up enough. Every second word out of a Flames fans mouth here in Calgary is “Monahan” (picture simpsons monorail episode, inserting Monahan), the expectations for this kid are off the charts stupid.

  3. He’s gonna be the next James Sheppard. Stuck on the big roster too early, getting smoked early and often, ruining his confidence, and his development overall. As far as “having to pay him the NHL salary” that’s bollocks. 2-way contract. They send him back down, his salary drops too. They never should have played him beyond his first 10 games, starting the first year of his entry deal. Feaster was an utter failure, but the flames are gonna be shocked to learn that Burke isn’t much better.

    • I’m no fan of Burke but he is waaaay better at GM’ing than Feaster. Burke’s main flaw is his loyalty to the USA Hockey program but considering hardly anyone wants to play in Calgary, that shouldn’t be a problem for the Flames.

  4. The Flames have handled him so poorly this entire season. The last couple games he’s been playing with Brian Mcgrattan and Lance Bowma on the 4th line. Sure he’s playing against poor competition but he’s a shooter, and relying on Mcgrattan to pass him the puck points to his recent decline.

    I’m scratching my head this holiday season while all the other young Canadian prospects are developing in big game situations in the World Juniors, and Monahan is buried on the Flames’ fourth line.

  5. Don’t forget Monahan has a say in this too. Blaming the coach and GM for playing a kid who obviously wants to play and feels well enough to play is irresponsible. This article lacked mention of that quite important fact.

  6. 10 game single player corsi, oh boy!

  7. I dropped in on this site b/c someone on Puck Daddy recommened it. And then in the first page of stories there’s this drivel based on Corgis.
    What has happened to hockey coverage?
    When did the number nerds take over?

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