Coming in the #12 spot on FlamesNation’s annual prospect profile rundown is 2015 6th round selection Andrew Mangiapane.
Mangiapane is a slender, highly-skilled play-making winger. Mangiapane is known for his speed and great hands (many noting his ability to handle the puck at top speed – in the video below note how he speeds up when he gets to the puck and comes at the goalie at absolute full speed). As well, while having a small frame, he is a fearless forechecker and a formidable penalty-killer. Individuals who watched Mangiapane live at development camp often described him as very skilled, shifty and possessing a deceptively fast wrist shot. A 6th rounder is not often described as possessing such skill. And not often is a 6th rounder drafted only a few months ago ranked as a top 15 prospect for a team with a very deep prospect pool. Speaks to how good of a late-round pick this could end up being for the Flames.
Mangiapane played his junior career as part of the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. However, unlike most CHL players, Mangiapane was never drafted into the CHL and was signed as a junior free agent before the 2013-14 season. In his first year with the Colts, which was also his draft year as he turned 18 in the April of 2014, he registered an admirable 51 points in 68 games. This placed him sixth in team scoring and fifth amongst forwards. While his scoring wasn’t incredible in his draft year (NHLE of 18.5), it would generally be enough for a team to take a late flyer on and hope for better progression in the player’s draft-plus-one and draft-plus-two years. However, likely because Mangiapane is very slight, standing 5’10” and 170 pounds, he went undrafted… again.
Undiscouraged by being skipped over yet again in his hockey career, Mangiapane emerged in 2014-15 and demanded that an NHL team take a chance on him. He registered 104 points in 68 games (43 goals and 61 goals), registering an NHLE of 37.6, more than doubling his draft year NHLE. Even with an impressive season, because he was an over-ager, he was skipped over another 165 or so times before the Flames decided to take a shot on him.
An incredible season and an incredible find in the 6th round. Yes he was an over-ager (just barely turning 19 by the time the draft rolled around). But to put it in perspective…if a team had taken a chance on Mangiapane in his draft year and he put together a draft-plus-one year like he did he would be heavy on the team’s radar and likely considered one of their top 10 prospects. Instead, Mangiapane is very likely found money in the 6th round. Let me explain by diving deep into his 2014-15 season and putting into historical context.
Mangiapane’s 104 points were the 7th highest in the OHL (among those are top 5 draft picks Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner and Connor McDavid as well as a 21 year old and as a 2nd and 6th rounder from the 2014 draft who saw marked improvement in their draft +1 year). Additional stats… Goals: 6th; Points per 60: 14th; team point percentage: 12th; NHLE: 13th. As well, Mangiapane registered a primary point on 76% of his points (similar to the likes of recent and past top picks Strome, Marner,McDavid, Fabbri and Dal Colle). Impressive totals for someone to slip into the 6th round to be sure as anybody else with similar stats was already drafted playing out a draft-plus year, elite top end talent drafted early in the 2015 draft or over 20 years of age. Now lets dive a little bit deeper into the historical context of Mangiapane’s 2014-15 season.
Mangiapane had an NHLE of 37.6 in 2014-15. Here’s how his eligible draft year NHLE and draft-plus-one NHLE compares to the rest of the Flames’ forwards drafted between 2011 and 2014. Notice how the cream of the crop rises to the top and sit on the shoulders of the rest of the prospects and note where Mangiapane finds himself in that pool of prospects. Mangiapane finds himself in the company of Bennett, Monahan, Poirier, Klimchuk, Granlund and Gaudreau. In fact, excluding Bennett who only played 11 games and Monahan who never went back for a draft +1 year, Mangiapane had the best draft +1 year of the entire fleet.
Moreover, based on some previous research I’ve conducted looking at NHLEs in the context of predicting future NHL scoring, hitting an NHLE over 30 before turning 20 is a very good indicator the player will not only make the NHL but will likely be able to produce in the NHL as well. In fact, in a sample of 380 players, 82% of players to reach an NHLE of 30 or more before turning 20 made the NHL and 36% ended up being at least average point-producers. If a player was younger than 19 by the time they reached their first 30+ NHLE their chances go up to approximately 90% of the NHL and 45% average point producer… Mangiapane was just barely 19 when the season ended (i.e., my cut off point). Some notable players that find themselves in Mangiapane’s cohort (drafted in rounds 3-7 with a NHLE over 30 before turning 20) include: John Gaudreau, Jamie Benn, Gustav Nyquist, Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Nathan Gerbe, Paul Byron, Cody Eakin, Brad Marchand, Mathieu Perreault and Brendan Gallagher. A few world beaters and numerous impactful depth guys.
Therefore, this 6th round flyer is the type of late-rounder that has a better-than-not chance of surprising everyone and actually amounting into something.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS?
Mangiapane is likely heading back to junior for his draft-plus-two year next year and won’t get a taste of the NHL for a few years. Given he was selected as an over-ager and is a very late rounder, to remain high on the Flames’ prospect radar, he’ll need to put together another impressive season or two in junior and possibly the minors. If he does just that I’m confident he’ll get his shot at the bigs.
“We saw the improvement from last year to this year. He was always a guy that could skate. He’s the same size, he might be a little bit stronger, but the one thing we noticed this year that was a little bit different was that he could control his speed better. He wasn’t just speed. You put up 100 points in the OHL, that’s quite an accomplishment. He managed to make plays and score goals and his speed is outstanding and his hand speed, his skill, is really good”