In the sixth round of the 2015 draft, the Flames made up for a lack of early picks by selecting Andrew Mangiapane. The high scoring, albeit overaged and kind of short, forward has been an archetype of Brad Treliving’s late round drafting: high producers with some cosmetic flaws. In his first pro season, he raised eyebrows with a flashy 20-goal season.
Ranked number six last year, Mangiapane takes a slight tumble to number nine.
A brief history
Mangiapane has had to take the long route to get to where he is today, mostly due to being short. He was passed over in the OHL draft, instead sticking around for another year in Midget until the Barrie Colts came calling. During his first year, Mangiapane wasn’t necessarily thrust into the spotlight. In a middle six role, he managed 51 points in 68 games. Despite finishing fourth among Colts forwards in scoring, he wasn’t drafted. For comparison, teammate Brendan Lemieux was drafted, despite scoring just two points more.
His second season with the Colts was explosive. He doubled his production, hitting 104 points in 68 games, and finished eighth in league scoring. That got scouts buzzing, but his overage status and his height still caused concerns. The forward was passed on until the Flames picked him up in the sixth round of the 2015 draft.
Topping his 2014-15 season was Mangiapane’s goal for the 2015-16 season. Certainly audacious, but something that he accomplished despite serving an eight-game suspension in the middle of the season. With 51 goals and 106 points, Mangiapane finished sixth league-wide in points and second in goals. Nothing but astounding stuff.
Despite his dominating performances in the OHL, the Flames took a patient approach to Mangiapane, storing him in the AHL for the whole 2016-17 season. Although he struggled at points during the year – once hitting a skid where he only scored three points in 18 games – Mangiapane finished the year with 20 goals (tied for seventh among rookies) and 41 points in 66 games. To bring the comparison full circle, Mangiapane scored one more goal this year than Lemieux scored points.
Calgary Flames development coach Ray Edwards praised Mangiapane’s adaptation to the AHL game as a rookie, noting his competitive nature helped him succeed.
We knew he’d come in, and the coaches put him in a position for success, but when Andrew really blossomed was when he figured out how hard he had to complete and how hard he had to play over 200 feet. When he figured that out, he became a top player down there. His last half of the season, I saw him out-muscle six-foot-four defensemen for pucks and it wasn’t that he went in and ran them over, he just went first and he got the pucks first and he was competitive on the puck, he was competitive under sticks and he was able to steal pucks.
Stockton Heat head coach Ryan Huska pointed out two of Mangiapane’s attributes that helped him have success in 2016-17.
One, he loves being on the ice. If there’s one thing we think about Andrew is that he’s got a great attitude and he really enjoys being on the ice working on his game. He wants more. And the second thing we grew to love about him over the course of the year is the competitive side to his game. He really competes, and when you challenge him to compete harder or play harder you know you’re going to get it from him. And I think when he had some success early on offensively for us, I think it allowed him to believe that he can play and contribute right now and he just carried that on through the year.
The Toronto Star’s Scott Wheeler praised Mangiapane’s overall skill package as an offensive hockey player.
Andrew Mangiapane is just a fantastic hockey player. This has been true since his rookie season in Barrie, when he was skin and bones, and it’s true today, a year after an excellent rookie season in the AHL. Flames fans should be really excited about the skillset he brings. I truly believe his set of tools, even at 5’10, will translate well with the right centre at the NHL level. There is so, so much to like in Mangiapane’s game and it’s rare you find a player who is equal parts gifted as a passer and shooter, which allows him to make an impact in more than one way and adds a dynamic to his line that most can’t offer at his size.
What comes next?
Mangiapane certainly has the resume and the tools to make the team out of training camp.
But will he? That’s the major question. He’s an intriguing player, but there’s only a handful of spots (by rough count, one) and much in the way of competition. The Flames will have some prospects they consider more ready than Mangiapane at this moment, and they’ll likely be first in line. He is also a left-handed winger when the Flames need right-handed wingers. Just based on roster construction, Mangiapane will probably not be on the Flames to start the year. If he beats everyone out and makes it, I wouldn’t be surprised, but the odds are against it.
That’s not necessarily bad. Given that the Heat will likely be down one top player come October, Mangiapane will have a prime spot to himself. Looking at that roster right now, there’s no reason he shouldn’t finish as one of, or maybe the, top scorer(s) on the team. The future is bright for Mangiapane.
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