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Market value or contribution to the team: the debate over Sean Monahan’s playing time

The Montreal Canadiens’ potential 2023-2024 line-up is a topic of much debate at the moment.

And why?

Because until the season begins and the CH is in Toronto for its first game of the season, we don’t know what Martin St-Louis’ line-up will look like.

Indeed, it’s a real headache both offensively and defensively, which is why CH fans have fun debating potential lineup combinations.

In fact, I just had such an interesting debate on the phone with my dear colleague Charles-Alexis Brisebois.

What was it about?

Yes, that’s right, about how the CH lineup will look in the first game of the season.

Bravo, you’re keeping up.

Our debate, more specifically, was about the Montreal Canadiens’ attack.

After explaining to me that he disagreed with my preference for placing Kirby Dach on the wing on the first line alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, Charles revealed that he saw Sean Monahan accompanying Kirby Dach (in the middle) on the second line.

I found this interesting, as it would allow Dach to both develop at center, the most important position, while being mentored by Monahan, who could help Dach if he ever struggles in the face-off circle.

It really would be an ideal world for Martin St-Louis.

But would it be a perfect world for Kent Hughes?

If Kent Hughes still has a plan to trade Monahan during the season in order to get an interesting return, well, playing Monahan on the wing on the second line wouldn’t maximize his value.

What would maximize his value, as my colleague Charles-Alexis Brisebois has already explained, is to place him on the first line alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.

The organization would therefore have a choice to make.

Maximize Monahan’s market value or maximize his value to the team?

It’s a situation that, on the face of it, pits the general manager and head coach against each other.

Kent Hughes vs Martin St-Louis.

Obviously, the two men are likely to agree on the plan as far as Monahan is concerned.

I don’t think there will be a squabble, on the contrary.

But it’s interesting to analyze both avenues.

In my opinion, the CH is better off using Monahan to help the team as much as possible.

As Eric Engels explains, it’s better to give Monahan reasonable playing time, without overtaxing him given his recent injuries.

Although he says he’s 100%, Monahan is clearly still fragile, so playing him as much as possible on the first line to increase his market value could ultimately backfire if he gets injured like he did last season.

That’s why, according to Engels, Monahan’s potential value on the trade market won’t be a factor when it comes to playing time for number 91.

It’s the overall contribution the 28-year-old veteran will make to the team that will be prioritized.

Monahan will have a very important supporting role for the team’s young center players, and will serve as a very important mentor for Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook among others.

What’s more, his mere presence in the line-up will lighten Nick Suzuki’s workload and responsibilities considerably.

As we saw last season, Monahan’s presence helped Suzuki to perform better offensively.

The second Sean Monahan was injured, and I mean the second, the CH’s season plummeted.

Suzuki had to compensate for the loss of Monahan by playing a more important defensive role.

The CH captain’s production rate plummeted with the loss of Monahan.

In short, Monahan is very important to the team on many levels.

That’s why it’s best not to think in terms of market value and trade.

At just 28 years of age, only four years older than Nick Suzuki, Monahan has great value to the team, and who knows, maybe he’ll prove it for more than one season.

En Rafale

– What do you think?

– Read more.

– To be continued.

– The best player of all time.

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