Focus as it should remains on those players in town.

Front and centre of the still-standing gang is Sean Monahan sixth overall pick at this past summer’s National Hockey League draft. And while the teen is impressing local observers with his savvy displays the Calgary Flames were aware of what they had all along.

“We knew what kind of player he was we knew what kind of maturity he had” general manager Jay Feaster said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s impressive what he’s done. We’re pleased with it. When you look at the way he’s performed he certainly doesn’t look he’s a young man.”

At the Young Stars Classic in Penticton B.C. Monahan had scored twice — and was plus-two — in two appearances.

In three NHL pre-season games he’s produced two more goals going plus-one.

Throughout he’s proven to be a responsible centreman no small thing at this level.

Monahan who turns 19 on Oct. 12 is going to get — and certainly deserves — a longer look. (Just the other day coach Bob Hartley was saying that the boy in some ways reminds him of ahem Joe Sakic.)

“I’m not going to go overboard about being surprised” said Feaster “because we had done our homework ahead of time. I guess people don’t believe us. But the fact of the matter is we knew what kind of player we were drafting. And we had said from the beginning that we were going to give this young man an opportunity. We saw the determination at the development camp (in July). This is a young man who from the time we drafted him said ‘My goal is to make the Calgary Flames.’

“What’s unique about him is as a first-year draft guy I think he grasps the need to be in shape better than maybe a lot of guys do. Typically what you see is guys coming in and they don’t realize the kind of shape they have to be in. That’s not the case with this player.”

Hanging around yet are the stubborn likes of defencemen Keegan Kanzig Tyler Wotherspoon Chad Billins; forwards Josh Jooris Michael Ferland Mikael Granlund Ben Street.

Clearly the Flames’ loud spiel about roster vacancies had not been not lost on the challengers.

“I don’t think there’s any question about that” said Feaster. “I think you see it in the play of the kids. I think you see it in the play of the veterans. I think the veterans are stepping up their play because they recognize that positions are open.

“We’re very pleased with training camp so far.”

Flames brass however did need to cut a wide swath through the group re-assigning 19 players.

“(The process) is a collective effort — myself John Weisbrod Craig Conroy the coaching staff here in Calgary” said Feaster pointing out that although president of hockey operations Brian Burke wasn’t in the room Wednesday he had his say. “And obviously we don’t just sit down once. We sit down at the end of every day and we evaluate players . . . and we came to the conclusions that we announced.”