By Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press on February 3, 2024.
TORONTO – Rick Bowness and the Jets were looking to bolster their roster.
The team also wanted to make sure any player potentially on the move to Manitoba’s capital was the right fit off the ice.
Winnipeg’s head coach feels like Sean Monahan checks both boxes.
The Jets acquired the veteran centre from the Montreal Canadiens on Friday for a first-round pick in this year’s NHL draft and a conditional 2027 third-rounder.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” Bowness said Saturday during the league’s all-star festivities. “He’s a very important addition to our team. He’s going to help us in an awful lot of ways. We know he’s strong on faceoffs. He’s a solid 200-foot player, which we like to play. I hear nothing but great things about his character and his work habits and being a real good teammate.
“A really good fit.”
The 29-year-old from Brampton, Ont., had 13 goals and 35 points in 49 games this season with Montreal. Bowness said he expects Monahan will start on a line Nikolaj Ehlers and Cole Perfetti.
“We’ll see what it looks like – you never know,” Bowness said. “Your eye test, it tells you everything, the chemistry of the line. We’ve got to give it a good chance to go. We know what (Mark Scheifele’s) line looks like, we know what (Adam Lowry’s) line looks like when it’s going well.
“We’ll give Sean a good chance with (Perfetti and Ehlhers) and we’ll see how it all goes.”
Bowness, whose team hit the all-star break two points behind the Colorado Avalanche for first in the Central Division with two games in hand, is looking forward to getting Scheifele back after he suffered a lower-body injury Jan. 11.
“Makes the coach’s job a lot easier when you’re on the bench and need a goal and he’s sitting there,” Bowness said. “He’s played a wonderful 200-foot game this year. We certainly missed him while he’s been gone offensively. It did hurt, there’s no question, but again at both ends of the ice he’s been a wonderful teammate this year, he’s a great leader.
“It’s all the little things that he does. He’s one of the first guys on the ice every day in practice, always working on things. He’s a very committed professional. We’ve missed him and we’re hoping he can play Tuesday.”
That should also be Monahan’s debut after a couple of practices.
“It’s great that we got them in, and it’s great that we got him in now coming out of the break,” Bowness said. “Guys are happy to have him, I know he’s happy to come to Winnipeg. And really that’s the most important thing for us.
“He’s had a good year offensively. He’s just a very reliable player. Just as important to us, he’s bringing the right character into our locker room. We’ve had a wonderful locker room – great chemistry – and we know he’s going to fit right in with us.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2024.
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