Hockey Prospect Watch enters the final week of pre-draft preparation with focus on prospects the Buffalo Sabres could target at either 8th or 16th overall. Sean Monahan is likely to be off the board by the 8th pick, but if he's not, the Sabres would take a good look at the prospect who knows a little something about rebuilding.
Sean Monahan is a big, left-handed centerman that could be off the board by the time the Buffalo Sabres are up at the 8th pick. He’s not considered an elite offensive prospect, but his overall game is strong enough for many scouts to consider him to be NHL-ready.
Monahan is a two-way center, who put up huge numbers with the Ottawa 67s, registering 78 points in 58 games. If you’re looking to get to know him a bit, you can read his blog at the NHL website.
Here’s a highlight that Sabres fans might be interested in.
I guess the biggest negative was losing many games (16-46-6), but then there were positives. We still have our loyal fans in Ottawa cheering and always supporting our team. I believe that playing on a rebuilding team at some point in your career is part of being a professional. I learned how to control my emotions better during a game, and that allowed me to focus and play my game.
I was also able to build on my leadership skills and was able to react differently at different times during the season. The one downfall was not really having a home rink, although that's not an excuse to lose games. It just didn't feel like we really ever had a home game. Personally, I definitely had more positives than negatives this past season. I can't thank everyone enough who was a part of it, especially all my teammates.
Ottawa had a terrible season, but Monahan found a way to bring his game nightly and be a professional. In the short-term, this might be the kind of player that fits a “suffering” franchise.
He’s been pegged anywhere from 5th overall, to the mid-first round, depending on which mock draft you’re looking at.
Hockeysfuture.com - Monahan isn’t the elite offensive talent that others in this list may be, but he most certainly has one of the most refined two-way games. Monahan combines that two-way talent with strong leadership qualities. In many ways, he’s akin to Gabriel Landeskog. He will not dominate a game in any flashy way, but will control it behind the scenes and very quickly assume a leadership role on any of the teams that draft him.Monahan has good size (6’2) and plays a key position (centre), so he’ll be in demand. As a late 94, he’s had an extra year of development and may be more NHL-ready quicker than some of his compatriots.
Hockeyprospectus.com - His ability as an offensive playmaker is high end, as he has tremendous instincts, displaying the ability to make quality passes. Monahan regularly shows the ability to slow the game down. He controls play from the perimeter on the power play. He is patient, creative, and he does not simply rely on one dimension, either. He has good puck skills; while they still lag behind his hockey sense, he can make some defensemen miss.
Monahan isn’t going to be mentioned in the same breath as MacKinnon, Drouin, Barkov, or Nichushkin in this draft when it comes to offensive ability. There are many that seem to believe there could be more waiting to bust out, once the rest of the team is on his level. In Ottawa last season, it was Monahan and a whole lot of nothing.
A sure fire Top 10 pick, Sean Monahan fits a need for the Sabres. It’s tough to figure who they have pegged as their premier two-way center going forward. There’s plenty of reason to believe that Zemgus Girgensons could have that spot at this point, which could make Monahan a bit of a longshot for this team. If they’re taking “Best Player Available” when picking at 8th, and Sean Monahan is on the board, it’s a good bet he’ll be a Sabre.