The NHL Draft is just under a month away now, and things are just now starting to get interesting around the league. The Colorado Avalanche raised some eyebrows with the news on Monday that the Avs are thinking about dealing that No. 1 pick.
While that news is certainly interesting, the pick is going to be traded unless the Avs get an absolute coup in return, and it doesn’t have much effect on what the Stars will do. And before anyone thinks about it, the Stars should definitely not be the ones to trade for that pick.
With the Boston Bruins securing a berth in the conference finals, Dallas is assured of the Bruins' first-round pick, which will be somewhere between No. 27 and No. 30.
The extra pick is really nice, but the focus is still on the Stars’ pick at No. 10. Today, we’ll take a look at a center who should be drafted somewhere in that area of the draft, Sean Monahan.
Age: 18 (Born Oct. 12, 1994)
Weight: ~190 lbs
NHL CS: 5th among North American skaters
Hockey Prospectus: 7th
Future Considerations: 8th
Monahan is pretty much a consensus top-10 pick in this draft and one of the five best centers available.
For the last three seasons, he’s been playing for the Ottawa 67’s in the OHL. That usually meant good times for Monahan, but this season the 67’s were the absolute worst team in the OHL.
None of that was Monahan’s fault though. The 67’s were rebuilding after the past two NHL drafts, and he led the team in goals (31), assists (47), points (78) and power-play goals (15). Those numbers were far and away the best on his team, and he finished in the top 15 in points in the OHL.
Monahan is considered an excellent two-way player and is a fantastic playmaker on the offensive end of the ice. He has a very attainable ceiling as a No. 1 center, and his strong two-way play has to be enticing for the Stars. He works on the power play and the penalty kill.
He’s also got those very nice intangibles as a solid leader. He was the captain for his team this season and has great character qualities.
Pretty much the only negative about his game is his lack of explosiveness and speed in his skating, which is something Stars fans have seen plenty of lately. That lack of explosiveness, along with the slightly lower offensive ceiling, is what keeps him below the best centers in this draft.
He may be the best defensive center in this draft though, and the Stars can always use a good two-way player. He’s a solid faceoff guy, something the Stars could desperately use.
Why Draft Him?
The Stars have a giant need at center, especially a playmaking one. It’s something they’ve tried to fix in the past couple of drafts, and it’s something Jim Nill should continue to address in this draft.
Jamie Benn is the nominal No. 1 center, but he’s just more natural as a wing player. It’d be better for his overall game to eventually move back to his original position. There will be a big hole if he moves back, and there’s not much to be confident in behind Benn.
Vernon Fiddler won’t be here much longer, and the younger depth guys (Roussel and Garbutt) don’t have the offensive capabilities to carry a first or second line. Cody Eakin looks like he’ll be a solid player, but there’s not much after him. Radek Faksa is still a relative unknown at this point, and his offensive game hasn’t always been a top-tier quality. Devin Shore, Mike Winther, Gemel Smith and Emil Molin are all nice prospects, but they have all yet to play pro hockey.
Monahan is one of the closest players in the draft to being NHL-ready, and he’s got all the qualities the Stars have been looking for in the past couple of years. There’s nothing that leaps off the page about Monahan, but he’s solid all-around. It’s a slight stretch that Monahan drops to No. 10 for the Stars, but I certainly wouldn’t mind taking him.