WWYDW: How should Andrew Mangiapane affect the lines?

The Flames have already seen their regular lineup rocked by a number of AHL call-ups and graduates this season. Brett Kulak was the first to officially make it, but Mark Jankowski wasn’t too far behind. A long-term injury to Kris Versteeg brought up Garnet Hathaway, and now, with Michael Frolik out for the next few to several weeks, it looks like it’s Andrew Mangiapane’s turn.

Lineup speculations have been common so far throughout this season, but as Stockton’s highest scorer, Mangiapane adds a new dynamic. If he’s going to be in the NHL until at least February or so then it would stand to reason that, at some point, he gets promoted from the fourth line.

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For Mangiapane’s debut, the Flames rolled the following lines:

Gaudreau Monahan Ferland
Tkachuk Backlund Jagr
Bennett Jankowski Hathaway
Mangiapane Stajan Brouwer

As much as Mangiapane pretty much singlehandedly made the fourth line better, one thing that immediately stands out is that he played alongside Jankowski and Hathaway in the AHL. While Sam Bennett has been no slouch, it could be tempting to reunite the Stockton Heat’s top line in the NHL. Not only are the three of them in the big league based on merit, but they were all near the top of Heat scoring at the time of their recalls. If the players are good enough, why wouldn’t their chemistry transfer over?

That then leaves the question of what to do with Bennett, since it doesn’t seem fair to bump him to the fourth line. However, it’s worth noting that Bennett spent a lot of time being centred by Mikael Backlund as a rookie, which has been his most successful year in his (admittedly short) NHL career to date. With Matthew Tkachuk capable of playing both wings, it could open the stage to have Bennett join Backlund and Tkachuk on the second line.

Alternatively, one could avoid the fiddling and simply bump Mangiapane up with Backlund. After all, Backlund does have a track record of benefiting rookies, and Mangiapane seems like exactly the type who could play well alongside him, even if heavy defensive zone starts would be expected, as opposed to the likely easier ride he’d get alongside Jankowski.

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This would all likely result in Jaromir Jagr rejoining Matt Stajan and Troy Brouwer on the old guys fourth line, which hasn’t necessarily been a great one for the Flames. But in the end, somebody has to play there, and is it worth sacrificing the fourth line’s quality to give Mangiapane a greater role?

I think most of us can agree that, over the course of his recall, Mangiapane’s role should increase. There are, however, a multitude of ways in which that can happen. So of course, because it’s Wednesday: what would you do?

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  • Puckhead

    Reunite the line of Mangiapane – Janko – Hathaway. It’s too early to bury him with defensive zone starts on the Backlund line. This would place Jagr on the our ‘AHL’ line with Stajan and Brouwer.

  • WillyWonka

    The one whose play suggests 4th line minutes is Jagr. Sorry bud maybe you’ll get better when your groin is good but now Jagr isn’t contributing and is too slow to be effective as he is currently playing

  • Parallex

    Well… let’s look at what the line-up ought to be looking to do:

    1: Move Jagr. Love Jags, but the Backlund line is our tough minute line and Jagr isn’t suited for that anymore.
    2: Get the top line humming again. We need them to get hot again
    3: Find more minutes for Mangiapane

    … IMO that means you move Bennett to the top line, Ferland to the 3M line, Jagr to 4th (with extra PP time ala Versteeg) and put . Alternatively Jagr to the top line, Ferland to 3M, Mangiapane to Jankowski line, Hathaway to 4th.

    • freethe flames

      If somehow Jagr could work on the first line then things could truly be different. I have said for awhile now that a first line of Jagr/Johnny/Monny could possibly work; it would have to be sheltered and given only Ozone starts but it could work. Jagr and Johnny’s hockey IQ might make up for the lack of speed of Jagr and Monny. Monny should get a lot of good looks with these two but he would need to start shooting again.

      This could allow some interesting options throughout the line up if they would just send FHamilton down and bring a kid up; Klimchuk comes to mind but almost anyone from Poirier, Shinkaruk or Hrivik would work as well. But it means giving them and Lazar a long look. Lazar is an enigma to this fan; I do not know what he is; he can skate and forecheck but beyond that I have no idea what else he brings; maybe nothing but it is hard to tell where he is played most nights. The best he looked was with Bennett and Janko but Hathaway looks solid there.

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    The logical move is to reunite the Heat line. To do so does impact other lines, but we aren’t exactly killing it right now in 5v5 play. So, I would suggest the following line:
    Heat Line

    Tkachuk looks to be the best fit with the top line, as seen with the PP. He takes the focus off Johnny to let him work the puck down low. Tkachuk can get in the goalie’s face, while Monahan wires the shot.

    Bennett stays on his strong side, while Ferland stays on RW, where he’s shown he can compete. They are defensively responsible enough to throw out against anyone. Ferland has a decent shot and Bennett can drag players with him and then pass off.

    The Heat line is a no-brainer. They all can finish. Janko is pretty good at passing. You really only need shelter them a bit, to get them preferred matchups. Bringing up a top 6 player to play on the 4th line in limited minutes does not make any sense. You don’t just bring up a 4th liner to replace Frolik.

    The 4th line uses Jagr on his natural side. He’s still good enough to contribute, but asking him to play RW may be a stretch. He’s also not going to make the 4th line any worse.

    • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

      As has been posted here by others, I’m not sure Chucky is a good idea with Johnny (size) and Monny (pacifist). Chucky likes to stir things up and that seems to provide the other team with opportunities to take liberties with our top guys.

      I’d like to see one of these two combos:

      Old guys


      Old guys

  • Derzie

    If they had the courage to sit/move any forward over 30 they would have a lot of great line options. A lot of the line confusion is determining who plays with the older, ineffective roster members.

  • BendingCorners

    Don’t rush him. Leave him on the 4th line and then if he continues to look good swap him into a higher line for a shift or two when somebody else needs a rest.
    I’m hoping Lazar is working on his puck-handling during this extended scratch and will get a shot with Backlund when he is ready. If that happens I would rather see Brouwer sit than Jagr.

    • oilcanboyd

      Agreed! Mangiapane has made the fourth line better. Leave him there for a couple more games.

      Lazar is useless so far in the NHL and does not make the team better.

  • Off the wall

    What I’d do is take the microchip that’s inside GG’s head and replace it with a Scotty Bowman mind.

    GG waits until the 3rd period to change lines and only then it’s after we’re down by a goal or two. That’s desperation, not coaching.

    If we had a coach who was capable of reading each players strengths, then I’d make lineup suggestions.

    In close games he doesn’t shorten the bench and when the 4th line isn’t contributing he continues to send them out.
    That’s bad coaching.

    Our fan base already knows there’s no point in getting our hopes up, GG has taken that away from us.

      • Off the wall

        Our fan base extends beyond FN BTF2. I read a lot of articles, blogs, other than FN and it’s the consensus of other Flames fans as well.

        Besides, there is only about 3-4 of you on FN that still have the romantic notion that we will be postseason bound with GG.

        The rest of us have the ability to make reasonable connections based on the current standings.

        Give me a reason to not be dour and I’ll happily oblige you..but probably not

  • idbr

    I would love to see Bennett and Tkachuk together. Been waiting for that for a long time. My top 3 lines would be.

    The 3M line is last year.

    • oilcanboyd

      If I would put Tkachuk anywhere but the 3M line it would be with Johnny and Monny. That line needs some spark already. Ferland replaces him on Backlunds line (with Hathaway). Mangiapane Janko Bennett.

    • Parallex

      Unless Brad Treliving is willing to embrace the concept of the sunk cost our 4th line will continue to not be able to play because Brouwer stinks, Stajan stinks, and Lazar stinks. So when Treliving is willing to admit that the money on Stajan/Brouwer is gone and the draft pick he paid for Lazar is gone and is willing to look them in the eye and tell the. Their days playing in the NHL are over then we can have a 4th line that can play.

  • Vernon30

    There’s a report Freddie has been placed on waivers, hope the send him down. Who are they making room for?
    I like the Bennet on 3M line for now, leave the Stockton line together, and Jagr to 4th, but used on 2nd PP unit.

  • Alcanivorax

    Other than a PP that can get goals on a regular basis IMO this team needs more speed and ideally speed with skill.
    Gaudreau – Monahan – Ferland (not sure why all the GG haters on here want to “pull a GG” and keep Ferland off the top line. What exactly has he not contributed there?)

    Bennett – Backlund – Tkachuk (speed, skill, tenacity…hopefully this can increase the production from this line)

    Mangiapanne – Jankowski – Hathaway (again; speed, skill and tenacity. Might as well give them a chance to prove they can replicate their AHL form)

    Brouwer – Lazar – Jagr (limited minutes, some skill, Lazar has speed)

    I think that is 3 decent lines. The 4th line is questionable. I’d rather have Lazar’s skating ability than Stajan given Jagr and Brouwer’s lack of speed).

    Best case is summer work on the 4th line makes the team better. Jagr retires. Brouwer bought out. Perhaps Frolick and ??? with Lazar make a competitive 4th line.

  • buts

    If Mang can get Stajan and Brouwer going he’s a superstar. Off the subject… LV has 27 wins including wins against Nashville twice, pitt, to and wash in december….this from a group that was the trash players from EVERY team in the league, both starting goalies have been hurt (MAF has only played 10 games Joelottosjockitch) and some FN commenters say its NOT coaching and that GG is a good coach……take the blinders off fellas. Look at the talent on our roster and the under achieving players on the flames, look at the inconsistent play, look at the lines and player usage, look at the slow disorganized special teams and overall play and look at the “give a crap meter” from the majority…..it all starts behind the bench.

        • I should be GM

          You guys are nuts! If GG reads this, he might get the idea of trying Brouwer on the PP…don’t do it Gully!!

          Great points buts.. Mr. Hartley had a team with a lot of holes in it and was able to take the team to round #2 in the playoffs. BT has really bolstered this team in all areas and we aren’t even sitting in a playoff spot right now? I still look at the disaster it has been under this coach in any big game so far. Every huge game this year has been nothing but a tire fire. Even last year in the playoffs, this team was not ready to play in game #1. Then lets keep playing a goalie that can’t stop a beach ball until we all get a free ticket home. I was very disappointed about the premature firing of the previous coach, but I did give mr. gel a chance. Now a year and a half in and a lot of ridiculous coaching decisions, I have zero faith in this coach or coaching staff. Even if we go on a great run and make it into the playoffs, I don’t think we can get past the first round with this guy. Time to get a motivational coach that builds confidence and is able to adapt quickly before this team lays a deuce like the coilers up north!

    • Parallex

      I think you’re talking a bit out of your arse there bud…

      1: “Look at the talent on our roster and the under achieving players on the flames”

      Alright… lets:

      Gaudreau: On pace for 90 points… which would be his best in the NHL.
      Tkachuk: On pace for 52 points on the high leverage line… which would be his best in the NHL.
      Bennett: Has he taken the big step forward we all hoped… lately yes but in totality no: His PPG Pace would still be an improvement on last year.
      Backlund: On pace for 51 points on the high leverage line. About the same as last year and slightly above his career average
      Monahan: On pace for 72 points (38G)… which would be his best in the NHL.
      Jankowski: Rookie. Has no point of reference on which to base under or over performance (Anecdotally I’ve been fine with it).
      Frolik: Was on pace for 33 points (Won’t get it because of the broken jaw). Okey you finally have a guy that you can look at point totals and figure he’s under-performing a bit… still doing his usual good job pushing play.
      Ferland: On pace for 43P… way way way way above his usual.
      Jagr/Hathaway: Combining to round out the top 9… I figure Jagr is underperforming expectations a bit and Hathaway overperforming a bit so call that wash.

      So who is it exactly that’s “underachieving”? I could do the same with the top 4 Defensemen but by point totals the forwards overachieving will at least balance out the D who aren’t.

      2: “look at the inconsistent play”

      Oh poo, There are precisely zero “consistent” teams in the NHL. Everyone runs hot and cold and the better teams are the ones who run hot more.

      3: “look at the lines and player usage”

      Okey… what about them? I’d argue that every player is on a line that more-or-less suits them.

      4: “look at the slow disorganized special teams”

      Alright I buy that one… if folk want to replace Cameron and Jarred I wouldn’t object.

      5: “overall play”

      Okey… show your work. Demonstrate with something other then an opinion how the overall play (in it’s totality) is poor.

      6: “and look at the “give a crap meter” from the majority”

      That is such a lazy argument. Are you a telepath? because I don’t think you’re remotely qualified to know how much anyone cares about anything.

      Is Gulutzan perfect? Heck no (I think I’ve spilt more virtual ink hating on his obsession with handedness then anyone and he’s much to slow to trust talented young player over less talented veteran), but I don’t think he has flaws greater in number or intensity then any other head coach.

  • everton fc

    Mangiapane-Hrivik/Lomberg-Brouwer. Mangiapane hasn’t proven he’s good enough at this level to alter our first three lines.

    (More and more, game after game, this fan is finding it hard to see where Jagr fits on this team. He’s only good for 4th line minutes, but can’t play a 4th line game).

    • The Real Slim Brodie

      Gg’s lineups…brouwer….umm does bartkowski start with a b?…it does? Ok that guy then!..hows my hair look Brian Burke? Ok let’s not change much because we only lost by a couple last time but let’s give brouwer some pp time because he isn’t doing much.

  • deantheraven

    I’m disappointed to see Freddie Got Waived again but I guess the team feels better with Stajan and Lazar as 13/14-which is ok too. I’d rather see Lazar at C and Freddie at RW than either Stajan or Brouwer, but that ship…

    • Broken

      What has Freddie Hamilton accomplished that you’d be disappointed he’s been waived? He was an AHL’er when the Flames traded for him, and he’s an AHL’er now. Sure, it’s nice to have a guy who sits for weeks at a time without complaint, but when he’s put in the lineup, nothing seems to happen when he’s out on the ice, other than the puck seems to spend a lot of time in Calgary’s end. He does have a shorthanded assist, but in 61 minutes of ice time, he’s managed just five shots on net.

  • Just.Visiting

    I don’t think that Jagr can take on the minutes or the role inherent with being on the Backlund line. The choices for Jagr would then be to move him to the Hathaway spot or to move him to the 4th line on limited minutes and have him on second unit PP and to pull him up the lineup late in games when we need a goal. (If’s he’s not healthy, he’s not going to get healthy playing.)

    Choices are then to try Lazar on the third line or to kill two birds with one stone and move MT to the right side as a long term move to mitigate the RW problem and to bring Mangi to the Backlund line to see what he can do and build his all round game. Eventually, I think that MT belongs with Janko and Bennett for a really strong number 2 line, as I don’t see Hathaway as the long term third piece on that line.

  • Alberta Ice

    Mangiapane adds an interesting insert to any of the lines. That’s why a bit of experimenting over the next few games might really be the way to go. In any case, I like what I am seeing this year from the farm team call ups from the Heat.

  • Sanintarious

    I’d like to see something like this:

    Mangie-Jank-Hathaway (Hey it worked in the AHL-give it a try)
    Brouwer-Stajan-Jagr (this line terrifies me due to their speed- I’d add Hrivik after Freddie Clears)