All Andrew Mangiapane has done since being selected by the Flames as an overager in the sixth round, 166th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft is reward them for their faith in him.
Standing at 5’10 and 184 lbs., the left-shooting left winger has done nothing but take steps forward year after year, and it’s seen him grow into one of the Flames’ top forward prospects. In our 2017 rankings, he came in at number nine; this year, he’s made the jump up to number three, and might just be one of the favourites to graduate to the NHL sooner rather than later.
How did we get here?
Mangiapane’s draft year was also his first season in the OHL. As a 17-year-old for most of the 2013-14 season, he scored 51 points over 68 games: tied for fifth on the Barrie Colts, but not enough to get him drafted, his smaller stature likely having something to do with that. That it took an explosion of points the following season – 104 in 68 games, third on his team in scoring – and a flier was only taken on him in the sixth round speaks to approximately 29 teams dropping the ball. Some gambles are worth it; this would clearly end up being one of them. He also scored 10 points in nine playoff games, second on the Colts in playoff scoring.
Mangiapane closed out his junior career with 106 points in 59 games for 2015-16, his 19-year-old season. He was second in team scoring, 21 points behind team leader Kevin Labanc. The Colts made it to the third round of the playoffs, Mangiapane scoring 21 points in 15 games: tied for sixth in league-wide playoff scoring, and second on his team, with five fewer than Labanc.
With nothing left to prove in junior, Mangiapane graduated to the professional ranks, spending his 20-year-old season playing for the Stockton Heat. He kicked off with 41 points in 66 games, fourth on his team in scoring. He also scored three points in five playoff games.
If you’re following along with the Labanc comparison, his former Colts teammate in his professional debut that same year had 19 points in 19 AHL games, and 20 points in 55 NHL games for the Sharks.
Stats, numbers, and everything therein
Mangiapane upped it for his second pro year, reaching over a point per game in the AHL for the first time, as well as making his NHL debut.
Mangiapane led all Heat players with points in 2017-18, but he also shot at 20%, a sharp increase from his 15% the year before. Still, he jumped from .62 points per game in his first professional season to 1.18 in his second, and likely would have scored more had shoulder surgery not prematurely ended his season.
Thirty-five of Mangiapane’s 46 points were primary in nature, a solid 76%, while 32 of his total points came at 5v5, good for a slightly reduced 70%. Put together, and 26 of his 46 points were primary at 5v5: 57%. Combine that with Mangiapane still being his team’s best scorer, and it’s clear he can, at absolute worst, be extremely productive at the AHL level on his own; higher level linemates could see even more scoring, albeit Mangiapane did appear to have luck on his side during his AHL time.
Mangiapane’s NHL debut was a different story. He only averaged 8:56 a game, playing mostly alongside Matt Stajan and Curtis Lazar: teammates of fourth line quality, with much less chance for offence than he saw in the AHL.
For a deeper dive into Mangiapane’s numbers, revisit Christian Tiberi’s writeup on him here.
Those in the know
Cail MacLean, Stockton’s former assistant and new head coach, elaborated on just what it’ll take for Mangiapane to take that next step from top AHLer to regular NHLer:
I think it’s important for someone like Mangy to experience [his NHL cup of coffee] and experience also the nature of being in a bottom six role and how limited your opportunity to impact the game can be on many nights. And I think that will really focus your attention in on how well you need to execute those few opportunities, how prepared you need to be to take advantage of things, and give him that motivation because when you’re a top dog at the AHL level and you’re generating five, six, seven scoring chances a game, say you’ve got a 10% success rate, you’re doing pretty well. Now understand that to break his way into the NHL, he’s going to have to operate on a much slimmer diet in that respect. I think that’s a maturity thing for him that’s going to be great for him, because he’s a very hard worker, he’s someone who’s very competitive, and as a result I think that’s good fuel for him to understand the animal that he’s dealing with.
Stockton’s Finest, our very own Heat correspondent, liked what he saw from Mangiapane over the season:
He also stepped up his game from the 2016-17 season. He caught fire right out of the gate with Jankowski and Hathaway. Even when they were called up, he still found a way to mesh with whoever was on his line. After his return from Calgary, he had a swagger about him. Shoulder surgery ended his season prematurely.
On the horizon
Mangiapane hasn’t played since March 7 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery, so he’ll have a bit of catch up to play as he prepares for the 2018-19 season. It could be a big one for him, too: it’s the last year of his entry-level contract, and there’s a regular forward spot open on the Flames that could be his for the taking, providing he has an outstanding camp.
The best case scenario for Mangiapane is he blows the doors off during training camp, making it impossible for the Flames to do anything but consistently dress him in games. From there, he could pick up his first NHL goal and point, particularly by playing on what looks to be an improved forward roster.
However, should that not happen and Mangiapane is demoted to the AHL out of camp, he’ll still likely be a leader for the Heat, and in line to be one of the first call-ups should circumstances on the big club necessitate it. The power for an impactful season is squarely in Mangiapane’s hands: it’ll just be up to him to make it happen.
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