5. Sean Monahan – 6th Overall in 2013
May 5, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan (23) controls the puck against the Anaheim Ducks during the second period in game three of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
It may be a bit early to crown Monahan as one of the best first round picks in franchise history, but no player has done as much as he has with this team at such a young age. Monahan was taken 6th overall just two years ago, on the heels of a strong Ontario Hockey League career with the Ottawa 67’s.
Monahan jumped straight to the NHL after being drafted, and scored 22 goals as a rookie in the toughest league in the world. He finished his first NHL campaign with 34 points in 76 games and proved to be adept playing in both ends of the rink, though he had just turned 19 shortly after the season began.
Monahan really broke out this season, upping his impressive goal total from 22 to 31 as a sophomore, and also chipped in 31 assists for 62 points. He finished third on the team in points, just behind rookie Johnny Gaudreau, who is actually a year older than Monahan, and Jiri Hudler who played extremely well alongside the pair of youngsters.
Looking back at the 2013 NHL Draft, Nathan MacKinnon went first overall to the Colorado Avalanche, followed by Alex Barkov to the Florida Panthers, Jonathan Drouin to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Seth Jones then went to the Nashville Predators and Elias Lindholm went to the Carolina Hurricanes before Monahan was taken.
Monahan’s 53 career goals stand out as the best among anyone taken that year, but MacKinnon’s 101 points in two seasons are just ahead of Monahan’s 96. If the draft were redone just two years later, I think Colorado would stick with MacKinnon, but you could make a case that Monahan should have been taken second overall by the Florida Panthers. The Lightning sure could have used Monahan in the Stanley Cup Final instead of Drouin who was a healthy scratch and you know the Hurricanes are wondering why they decided to take Lindholm ahead of the Flames center.
It is early to suggest Monahan is one of the best first round picks ever by the Flames, but just two years after being selected, he already has 53 goals in the NHL and looked comfortable as a first line center shortly after turning 20 years old. He has a promising future with the team and will only make this pick look better and better as the years go by.