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Sean Monahan: Arpon Basu talks up first-round pick if traded
Sean Monahan is having an excellent season with the CH. The veteran has amassed 13 points in 16 games so far this year, and beyond the points, his versatility and leadership make him possibly the most important forward on the team right now.

Mind you, I’m not saying he’s necessarily the best. I’m simply saying that, with everything he brings to the table, he’s possibly the most important forward in Martin St-Louis’ line-up.

Monahan, who signed a one-year, $1.985-million contract with the Tricolore last summer, is proving that when healthy, he still has what it takes to be a top-quality NHL forward. He’ll have to stay injury-free for the rest of the year, but on the ice, he’s one hell of a hockey player.

That’s why some would like to see Kent Hughes come to an agreement with Monahan to keep him in Montreal for several years… but on the other hand, there are big risks in doing so. His injury history is imposing, he’s 29 years old on a rebuilding team, and his best value (which may never be as high as it is now) may be far from Montreal.

All along, I’ve had the impression that it’s this value away from Montreal that will dictate Monahan’s future with the Tricolore. If the CH gets the big price to trade him, it’ll be very tempting…

And in the eyes of Arpon Basu, who was on BPM Sports this afternoon, that value could well be a first-round pick. He talks about this towards the end of his column, for those interested.

Yesterday, Basu also stated in a text that he thinks Monahan is the club’s most important forward this season. The fact that he revived Brendan Gallagher, the fact that he’s used for everything, the fact that he’s a mentor to Juraj Slafkovský and so on: his track record is impressive.

On the other hand, if Kent Hughes really is offered a first-round pick for Monahan’s services, he should jump at the chance. I know Monahan has already brought a first-round pick to the Habs, but the club needs to maximize the value of its assets in veteran players, and a guy like Monahan is worth gold to a rebuilding team on the trade market.

In fact, this isn’t the first time there’s been speculation that Monahan could fetch top dollar in a trade. Last year, the talk was much the same… until Monahan suffered a season-long injury.

This year, however, Mony would be even easier to trade, without the Tricolore even having to withhold salary. Last year, he would have had a cap hit of around $3.2 million with a 50% salary holdback, but this year, his base cap hit is $1.985 million.

That’s a difference of about $1.2 million… but for an aspiring team that’s pinned to the ceiling, it can make all the difference.

The CH could also withhold 50% of his salary, but with two holdbacks already on his record (Joel Edmundson and Jeff Petry), using the third on Monahan would be a waste in the sense that his contract is already more than tradeable.

And even without a holdback, I think a first-round pick isn’t absurd for a guy who can solidify a second-center chair on a good team. Now it’s up to Kent Hughes to find his price.

In gusto

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– I love it.

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– Quite a story.

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