Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sean Monahan Jersey Card

How does one follow up a 22-goal rookie season that ends with some Calder Trophy consideration? With a 31-goal, 62-point year ending fifth in Lady Byng and 20th in Selke voting, of course, leading the Calgary Flames to their first playoff series win in 11 years. If one is Sean Monahan, of course.

The sixth-overall pick of the 2013 draft (behind Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Drouin, Seth Jones, and Elias Lindholm), Monahan has helped bring the Flames back to respectability, but unlike captain Mark Giordano who is already in his 30s, will now be tasked to continue and hold the mantle for the foreseeable future.

Offensively, the Flames are counting on Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett and Max Reinhart to be at the center of their resurgence.

Because of how tight the league is, Calgary might miss the playoffs entirely in 2015-16, but I still feel they are an elite-level goaltender away from being perennial Stanley Cup contenders for a long while. I mean, I like Jonas Hiller, but his best years are probably past him and he'll probably end his career in Europe when his contract expires at the end of next year, and Joni Ortio may very well be the guy to take the Flames deep in a few years, but a top-level goalie right now would go a long way into putting them in the same conversation as the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings as the top teams to watch out for, ahead of the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Montréal Canadiens.

I've been following the Flames closely since the days of Jarome Iginla, and of their bruising-meets-speed style that Darryl Sutter instituted early in the new millennium;  I'm even more optimistic about where they're headed now than when they had the best goalie in the world - Miikka Kiprusoff - between the pipes.

Here's a card of Monahan's featuring a black event-worn jersey swatch from a photo shoot:
It's card #RM-SM from Upper Deck's 2013-14 SPX set, and is part of the Rookie Materials sub-set; it shows him wearing the Flames' red (home) uniform.

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