When the draft enters its later rounds, teams are less likely to find future NHLers. It’s just a matter of numbers: there are only so many players who can play at the highest level, and if professional management at the highest levels are doing their jobs properly, then most of them are going to be taken sooner, not later.
There are always exceptions, though, and Andrew Mangiapane, 2015 sixth round selection, might be the next among them.
The Flames have certainly seen enough to have faith in him, as they’ve reportedly signed him to his entry level contract.
Hearing #Flames 2015 sixth round pick Andrew Mangiapane has signed his entry level deal. 106 points in 59 games with the Barrie Colts.
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) March 22, 2016
After being passed over in his first eligible draft, the Flames selected Mangiapane 166th overall in his draft+1 year. It isn’t unremarkable he was passed over as a 18-year-old: standing at 5’10 and 170 lbs. and scoring just 51 points over 68 games isn’t going to make many NHL teams want to take a flyer on you.
Scoring 104 points over 68 games the next season, though? Being the third-highest scorer on your team, and tied for seventh overall in league standings? That’s when your size and age should go out the window – and it did for the Flames, as they used one of their final picks on him.
Since being drafted, Mangiapane has bested himself. He’s scored 106 points over 59 games this season, not only as the Barrie Colts’ second-highest scorer, but as the sixth highest scorer in the OHL – and fourth overall when looking just at even strength numbers.
— Jeremy Crowe (@307x) March 21, 2016
He’s also been named the OHL Eastern Conference’s most underrated player, best skater, and best shootout shooter, and is putting up numbers that make him look like one of the Flames’ best pure offensive prospects in recent history.
In short: it looks like the Flames got a complete steal in the sixth round of the draft. And when you find those guys, you sign them; keep them in your organization while they continue to grow.
Mangiapane is just a couple of weeks away from his 20th birthday, so he’ll almost certainly be going professional come the 2016-17 season – there’s not much point in bringing him back as an overager when he’s put up back-to-back 100+ point seasons in junior. Stockton will very, very likely be his next stop, but who knows what could happen come next camp?
One thing’s for sure, though: the Flames are lacking in quality wingers. If Mangiapane can help rectify that – and the early returns certainly look good – then Calgary could be one step closer to ending its rebuild phase.
In the meantime, Mangiapane’s immediate concern are the OHL playoffs, where he’ll be a major part of the Colts’ efforts to get past the Mississauga Steelheads in the first round.