Freshly acquired Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan was a bit of a question mark for the upcoming year after missing the last month of the 2021-22 season and the entire playoffs. Labelled as questionable for the start of the season a few weeks ago, things are looking up for Monahan as his recovery from hip surgery continues. Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said Sunday that they are being cautious with Monahan, holding him out of scrimmages, but that he will play in preseason games at some point, boding well for his opening-night availability.
The Canadiens received a conditional 2025 first-round pick from the Flames for taking on the final season of his $6.375M AAV contract, which was much too rich a price for cap-strapped Calgary to pay given Monahan’s declining health and production. After Monahan had just eight goals and 23 points in 65 games last season, the Habs are hoping a return to consistent top-nine minutes will help them recoup serious offensive value in the final season of Monahan’s deal, and maybe even flip him at this year’s trade deadline with some salary retained.
Monahan told the media last month that he’s "ready to play hockey again at a high level.” It will take a lot of patience and conditioning for Monahan to sniff his previous 30-goal, 60-point-caliber play, but the team seems to understand that. Monahan will be competing for time down the middle with Nick Suzuki, Christian Dvorak, Jake Evans, and Kirby Dach, who could likely shift to the wing.
The Habs opens their preseason on Monday at home against the New Jersey Devils.