Calgary Flames

A refresher on the Sean Monahan first-round pick trade conditions with diagrams

The Calgary Flames trade of Sean Monahan was one that they should regret, but in executing the trade, it also left them with one of the NHL’s most confusing and complex trade conditions of all time.

The trade, made official in the summer of 2022, was Sean Monahan and a 2025 conditional first-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for future considerations—a pure cap dump trade. 

But the conditions attached to the trade took many around the NHL hours to break down and understand, and still leave many perplexed. So here is the most simple breakdown of what the first-round pick could be for all teams involved in the simplest way possible. 

The Florida Panthers’ conditions

Now this 2025 first-round pick has to start with the Florida Panthers, who are the true crux in this whole debacle for Calgary. The Flames acquired a 2025 conditional first-round pick from the Panthers in the Matthew Tkachuk trade. The condition on the selection was that it was lottery-protected. 

But, it goes deeper than that.

The Panthers executed another deal earlier in the year with the Philadelphia Flyers for Claude Giroux, which included at the time a 2024 conditional first-round pick. The conditions on that pick? If the pick is a top 10 selection, Philadelphia will instead receive Florida’s 2025 first-round pick. So when they traded away their 2025 selection to the Flames, it was already conditional on those conditions. 

Long story short, if the Panthers are outside the top 10 in the draft, Philadelphia gets their 2024 first rounder and the Flames would most likely get Florida’s 2025 first-round selection. With how Florida is playing, this would be the likely outcome. Additionally, if that 2025 first-rounder is then a lottery pick then Florida would send Calgary their 2026 first-round pick. 

This is critical. 

The Montreal Canadiens’ conditions

Now Montreal really has all the power in this situation. Let’s break it down in chronological order. 

If the Flames’ own first-round selection in 2024 is between #20 and #32 in the draft order, Montreal can take that pick instead of seeing the rest of the conditions play out. This would be foolish of Montreal to do, as there is a greater chance at a better pick. Combined with the likelihood of the Flames finishing higher in the draft than 20th overall, you can forget this one.

Next up is assuming the Flames get Florida’s 2025 first-round pick based on what’s noted above. If both Calgary and Florida are not in the top 10, then Montreal gets the better of the two picks in 2025. If Calgary’s pick is top 10 and Florida’s pick is not top 10, then Montreal would receive Florida’s pick.

So the most simplest outcome is for the rest of the season, Florida continues to be good, sends Philadelphia their 2024 first-round pick, which then would send Calgary their 2025 pick and then subjective to the “which pick is better” which leaves Calgary in a much better spot.

But if Florida somehow finds themselves out of the postseason, then things could get dangerous for Calgary.

There are two separate scenarios: if Calgary’s pick is top 10 in 2025 or if it is not top 10 in 2025. 

If the pick is not in the top 10, then Calgary would send its 2025 pick to Montreal (in addition to a wildly specific condition around a fourth-round pick also sent in the Tkachuk trade). 

If the pick is in the top 10, then the Flames would be in trouble. If the pick is first overall, then Montreal would get a 2025 third-rounder and the better of Calgary and Florida’s 2026 first-rounder. If the pick is second to tenth, then Montreal would get Calgary’s 2025 first-round pick.

So there is a world in which the Flames draft second overall in 2025 and have to give up that pick to Montreal. A lot would have to happen to get to that point, but it’s not impossible.

Diagrams to sum up the Monahan trade conditions

If the large amount of words and the mention of conditions were not clear, then here is a visual representation of all the scenarios that I can see happening with the selection:

Clear as mud if you ask me.

The Flames are giving up a first-round pick either way, but the worst possible situation is the last one if the team ends up giving up a franchise player for a camp dump move. 

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