Sean Monahan is ready to return to his old form on a new team.
The Canadiens also received a conditional first-round pick in 2025 in the deal, which freed up cap room for the Flames to sign centre Nazem Kadri to a seven-year, $49-million deal.
Calgary acquired future considerations in the deal.
Over the past two seasons, Monahan has struggled with injuries, requiring hip surgeries in both 2021 and 2022.
After his most recent procedure in April, Monahan feels good about where he’s at in the recovery process.
“I think this summer is a big one for me,” Monahan told media via Zoom on Thursday. “I got the surgery earlier than I did the year before, so I’ve put in a lot of work this summer and right now I’m back on the ice four times a week. It’s been a long time coming for me to feel healthy, so I’m excited to play hockey again at a high level and I’m really excited to join the Canadiens.”
Having played through injuries in the past, Monahan addressed the underlying issues that have affected his play for quite some time.
“I probably could have got these things fixed a long time ago, it was my personal choice to play through it, and it finally took a toll. Getting it fixed and I guess prioritizing myself, getting myself back together, it’s a good feeling, and like I said, I’m really excited to play high-level hockey again.”
Canadiens GM Kent Hughes said that the Habs are “not sure” that the centreman will be ready to start the season.
“He sounds incredibly encouraged that for the first time in a long time he’s going to play a season healthy,” Hughes said. “I don’t know if that’s going to be Game 1 of the season or if it’s going to be Game 4 of the season. But he feels like even today not at 100 per cent, he’s way better than he’s been the last few years.”
Though new to the Canadiens, Monahan has a certain familiarity with a few of his new teammates, including a former teammate and a current training partner.
“I played with Paul Byron for a couple years in Calgary and I actually used to drive him around quite a bit,” said Monahan. “Jake Evans, I train with him every day, so I see Jake basically every day in the summer … I’ve met (Brendan) Gallagher a few times, and you know what? Basically the whole team has reached out now and they seem like an awesome group.”
From the outside looking in, Monahan has been impressed with the positivity he’s seen and heard from his new team and organization.
“You come into work, but you have fun doing it,” said the nine-year veteran. “All I’ve heard is nothing but good things.”
A 2013 first-round pick, Monahan has played 656 games with the Flames, scoring 212 goals and notching 462 points over that time.
Throughout the 2021-22 season, Monahan played on the fourth line and produced eight goals and 23 points in 65 games — a diminished role for the former sixth-overall pick.
His most productive season for the Flames came in the 2018-19 season, when he scored 34 goals and tallied 82 points in 78 games making that the only season he eclipsed a point-per-game.
In 2016, Monahan signed a seven-year, $44.6 million contract with an AAV of $6.375 million. He is set to become a UFA at the end of the 2022-23 season.
“On behalf of the entire Flames organization, I sincerely thank Sean for his nine years of selfless dedication and perseverance,” Flames GM Brad Treliving said in a statement. “Sean was a great Flame, a first class individual who exemplified the definition of respect. Our team and city were fortunate to have him as a player, ambassador and member of our community.”