The Calgary Flames had a big decision on their hands regarding the future of star freshman Sean Monahan.
On Wednesday, they made it.
The Flames announced they’re keeping the 19-year-old center for the remainder of the season, rather than returning him to his junior club in Ottawa.
Monahan, who sits third among all rookie skaters with nine points in nine games, has been the focus of much conversation in recent weeks. While he’s been an important contributor in Calgary (t-2nd in points) and deserving of his spot in the NHL, arguments have been made suggesting the Flames — not considered to be a playoff contender — should return him to junior and save a year of his entry-level contract in the process.
But, according to Flames GM Jay Feaster, the organization just couldn’t hold the sixth overall pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft back.
“We feel good about [Monahan],” Feaster told the team website. “We feel good about the decision we’ve made.
“I think he’s a unique individual… in his determination. He’s a 19-year-old going on 29 years old.”
The argument about keeping Monahan up will likely continue, but it’s important to remember one thing — the Flames made it clear from the onset of training camp that playing time and positions on the team would have to be earned. Telling a player that, then having him earn his spot, then taking it away could send a mixed message, and possibly affect the relationship between organization and prospect.
It’s worth noting, however, that Feaster didn’t rule out the possibility of Monahan representing Canada at the 2014 World Juniors.
“We’re a big believer in the [World Juniors] and what they do for players,” he said.
The ’14 tournament runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Malmo, Sweden.