What do Scheifele and MacKinnon’s second contracts mean for Sean Monahan?

Updated: July 9, 2016 at 8:00 am by Ari Yanover

Sean Monahan is a 21-year-old centre who has played three seasons in the NHL. Over that time, he’s scored 159 points through 237 games. He also just so happens to need a new contract – and, considering what he’s accomplished so far, it’s probably going to be a big one.

How big? Well, why don’t we ask Mark Scheifele (23-year-old centre, three NHL seasons played, 145 points in 227 games) and Nathan MacKinnon (20-year-old centre, three NHL seasons played, 153 points in 218 games played), because they both just got new deals of their own: eight years, $6.125 million AAV and seven years, $6.3 million AAV, respectively.

So probably max (or close to) term and at least $6 million for Monahan. Got it.

Side by side by side comparison

These are three young centres who have all spent roughly the same amount of time in the NHL, give or take some games here and there due to injury or general progression. That’s why they make such great comparables, especially when trying to determine the future contract of the only player who doesn’t have one yet.

So let’s dig a little deeper on them.

Player Goals Per Game Points Per Game ES PPG PP PPG CF% rel ZSR rel
Sean Monahan .338 .671 .468 .194 -0.68 +5.70
Mark Scheifele .256 .639 .511 .128 +1.22 -1.18
Nathan MacKinnon .271 .702 .514 .183 +3.27 +5.47

At immediate glance, Monahan is easily the best goal scorer. (He’ll hit 100 next season; Scheifele and MacKinnon would have to score twice as much as him to do the same.) He’s an effective point producer, too: right in between Scheifele and MacKinnon.

Dig a little deeper, though, and Monahan comes out looking a little less rosy. He relies more on the power play to score than his comparables. His possession tanks compared to theirs, and that’s with him having the best zone starts of the three.

Does this mean Monahan isn’t about to get paid? Of course not. Will these numbers influence his final cap hit? I have no idea. But ideally, he doesn’t get a cap hit higher than MacKinnon’s – even if he does get eight years (and therefore, an additional UFA year) on his second contract.

Where’s the bar?

Before Scheifele and MacKinnon signed, it was probably Filip Forsberg. He’s played a similar amount of time in the NHL, and is the higher scorer with .731 points per game – but he plays on the wing, not centre. He recently signed a six-year deal with a $6 million AAV.

Based on these three recent signings of players who have shown similar base results to Monahan, that six-year, $6 million deal is likely the absolute minimum we can expect for him. At this rate, though, his cap hit is probably going to be higher than $6 million – and it wouldn’t at all be surprising to see him get the full eight years from the Flames, even with UFA term being a factor.

I’d expect his cap hit to be higher than Scheifele’s (he’s scored more than he has and has had more success at a younger age), and hope it would be less than MacKinnon’s – say it comes in at $6.2 million – but wouldn’t be surprised to see it equal or exceed his, depending on how many UFA years he gives up.


The Gaudreau factor

The Jets still have to re-sign Jacob Trouba. The Avalanche still have to re-sign Tyson Barrie.

The Flames still have to re-sign Johnny Gaudreau, and he’s the best player of the three, without question. And if he and Monahan want matching contracts, that could completely skew things.

If they end up with matching deals, it’ll likely end up with Monahan being overpaid and Gaudreau underpaid. That could see Monahan getting more than MacKinnon – but if it results in Gaudreau getting a cheaper deal than he otherwise should, then it doesn’t exactly hurt the Flames. Monahan and Gaudreau are a pairing that’s likely to stick around for a while, and their combined cap hits may be the priority here, as opposed to individual ones.