A Rangers’ trade for Sean Monahan must be a calculated risk

The New York Rangers are looking at potential trade targets to fill in their hole at second line center. Various names have been attached from Vancouver’s J.T. Miller to Winnipeg’s Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele.

Recent rumor rumblings appear to have both Jets centers as unavailable and the asking price for Miller still being too high.

Those aren’t the only options out there for a trade and Calgary Flames pivot Sean Monahan has also been linked to the Rangers.

Sean Monahan is an injury risk

Whenever you talk about Monahan, discussions regarding his health are a huge concern.

The 27 year-old’s season once again ended prematurely because of a hip issue. He is currently recovering from surgery but is expected to be back for the start of training camp.

“He’s battled some things,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said in April. “It’s unfortunate. The good news in here is he’s got a lot of time to get this addressed. He had his other hip, his left hip, done [in May 2021] and it feels great and he’s doing wonderful. This is now sort of the next challenge for him. He’s got a lot of time to get it addressed before next year.”

Monahan, 27, finished last season with just 23 points in 65 games. For his career, he has 462 points in 656 career contests over nine seasons all with the Flames.

The two-way center is in the final year of a deal with a $6.375M hit against the cap. That number in and of itself is likely outside the Rangers price range, not to mention the risk the team would assume regarding his ability to play a full season.

Rangers trade trade scenarios for Sean Monahan

new york rangers trade rumors
Jan 2, 2020; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan (23) passes the puck against the New York Rangers during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Trading for Sean Monahan is not recommended, especially if you are assuming his full contract. So what is the former sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft worth? What do the Flames want?

Monahan was on the block last season before his injury with reports that Calgary was dangling him for a defenseman. With that info in hand, let’s break it all down with three trade possibilities.

Scenario One: Rangers acquire Sean Monahan at 50% salary retained for Nils Lundkvist

This is not a recommended option, but if GM Chris Drury wants more cap flexibility, it would take a talented prospect for the Flames, to eat $3M of Monahan’s salary.

Scenario Two: Rangers acquire Sean Monahan at 25% salary retained for Matthew Robertson

When it comes to trade scenarios for Monahan this seems most plausible. The Flames really need to create some more cap space and the Rangers would like to keep that 2C slot at under $5.5M AAV. At 25% retention, Monahan would come in at $4.78M for just one season.

Scenario Three: Rangers acquire Sean Monahan with no salary retained and a second round pick for a 2022 6th round pick

As I mentioned before, the Flames need to clear out as much space to sign several players with both Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk about to command max term at $9M AAV easy. If the Flames want to dump Monahan’s salary to the Rangers it’s going to cost them big. Since he only has one-year left on his deal, the Rangers could probably absorb the full hit this year. Chris Dury only has one second round pick in this year’s draft and may have to attach that to Patrik Nemeth to dump his two years remaining at $2.5M.

Why Sean Monahan?

A trade for Monahan presents risks but also some potential big rewards. Back in 2018-19, he scored 82 points in 78 games. He’s potted 30 goals three times in his career as well. All very solid 2C numbers for sure, maybe even 1A when healthy and producing.

I know what some of you are also thinking. Can he win face-offs? The answer is yes. While he’s not a specialist, he has a career average in the dots of 50.5 and can hold his own. Monahan is also very good defensively, and does not take bad penalties.

In the end, the Rangers probably have other options above him, but he’s certainly a center to consider.

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