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Rapid progression from Andersson and Mangiapane key now and going forward

Remember when neither Rasmus Andersson nor Andrew Mangiapane were on the opening day roster for the Flames? Knowing what both have accomplished this season, it’s hard to believe that was actually the case. Both Andersson and Mangiapane have been pleasant surprises and have solidified themselves as NHLers heading into the 2019 postseason.

For me, one has established himself as a core piece going forward while the other is knocking on the door. The rapid progression of Mangiapane and Andersson is a great story for this season and even more promising in the bigger picture.

Rasmus Andersson

Andersson has looked ready for full-time NHL duty for quite some time. I thought he was ready for prime time going back to last season and deserved to start the season with the team. It didn’t quite work out that way, but Andersson joined the Flames in short order and hasn’t looked back. I’m not sure I saw him blowing by Michael Stone on the depth chart as quickly as he did, though.

GP CF% HDCF% OZS%
79 50.8 51.6 57.0

Over a full season, Andersson’s on-ice outputs at five-on-five (above, courtesy Natural Stat Trick) were respectable but not overly impressive at a glance. However, looking at Andersson’s entire body of work doesn’t show how rapidly he improved, and how his usage changed as a result.

Andersson started in a very sheltered role paired with fellow rookie Juuso Valimaki on the team’s third duo. While showing plenty of promise with the puck on his stick, Andersson went through expected growing pains defensively. What many didn’t expect was how quickly he’d move past that adjustment period. Take a look at Andersson’s even strength splits prior to and following Calgary’s nine-day break at the end of January.

Oct. 3 – Jan. 22 Feb. 1 – April 6
GP CF% HDCF% OZS% GP CF% HDCF% OZS%
48 47.0 46.4 59.1 31 56.2 60.0 54.2

What we’ve seen from Andersson since the beginning of February is not only a significant improvement from his first four months, it’s downright outstanding. Since the break, Andersson’s high danger ratio is tops among Flames defencemen, while his possession rate has done a complete 180 compared to usage. Andersson has gone from being a rookie defenceman finding his way to one of the best on the team in the blink of an eye.

While Calgary is set to start the 2019 postseason with Andersson on a third pairing with Oscar Fantenberg, would it surprise anyone if he was bumped up to Mark Giordano’s right side on a regular basis? Andersson has shown the ability to play top pairing minutes when called upon, and I think he’s put himself in that conversation permanently starting next season.

Andrew Mangiapane

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time earlier in the season where I wondered if it was going to come together for Mangiapane. In the 13 games he played prior to Calgary’s January break, Mangiapane had just one point, although an injury didn’t help things. Mangiapane has recorded 12 points (8G, 4A) in the 31 games he’s played since, which is nothing to write home about on the surface. However, a look at his underlying stats paints a different picture.

CF% Rank HDCF% Rank OZS%
54.9 6th 61.2 1st 51.0

At five-on-five, Mangiapane is spending more time than most of the team’s forwards on the attack, and he’s helping generate high end chances in the process. Granted, Mangiapane has played a limited role for the most part; he was on the team’s true fourth line for quite some time. In saying that, he’s more than made use of his ice time, which is proven by looking at his individual rates.

CF/60 Rank Shots/60 Rank HDCF/60 Rank G/60 Rank
12.7 8th 8.42 4th 4.42 2nd 1.1 1st

When on the ice at five-on-five, Mangiapane is consistently around the net and creating. The guy has a wicked shot and is hard to knock off the puck, especially considering his stature. And the news gets better; Mangiapane’s line with Derek Ryan and Garnet Hathaway has moved the needle to the point it’s tough to consider them a fourth line anymore. That means more ice time for one of the team’s most effective forwards.

Had you asked me a year ago, I’d have said Mangiapane has a shot to be a full-time NHL bottom six forward. Well, he’s checked that box; Mangiapane is a legit NHLer, no questions asked. But I don’t think he’s reached his ceiling. Knowing how he’s progressed in his rookie season, the Flames could be looking at a member of their top six forward group in the very near future.



    • Albertabeef

      We said that about Janks at the end of last season. Not that I think Mange couldn’t do it. I told people in January to be patient cause he was playing the game “the right way” and he needed a little more time to adjust to the NHL game.

      • Agreed but I see Magi as doing it in a more sustainable way. Janks had one amazing game where everything went in (4 goals in a game I think) that pretty much doubled his output. Mangi is doing much better than I thought he would. When first recalled he seemed to knocked on the ice 2-3 times a shift. He still gets knocked down a lot but it’s better and he seems to have more confidence with the puck. Full credit to him.

    • The Red Knight

      With basically 4rthline minutes too, Mangy’s got the stuff , another fast skilled smart player ! no mention of Klington who also has been really good and has a very high ceiling as well .

  • Garry T

    Stone is a good defenceman. He has size and smarts, is good at clearing the blue paint and vicinity. I think he is under-appreciated but with Valimaki ready and now Fantenburg playing relatively well, Kyllington ready, what do you think Treiliving will do during the draft or this summer with Stone?

    I guess you could move Kyllington into a forward position because he has a great wrister, great wheels and instincts. This blog trades TJ often. Yet, he loves playing for the Flames, he is really well liked as a team member and would be missed if moved. You could move him up to a forward position as well. You then keep defensive options front and center on the team in case anyone on the defence goes down. Either TJ or Kyllinton would morph into the forward position within a couple of months. Interesting times.
    Tre has some options available to him in terms of trades and conversions. Who do you move? Whoever it is, you are going to get some value and I hope it is picks or really good options to replace players in Stockton.

    • withachance

      I like Fanta as a steady no non-sense physical dman option. Pains me to say it, but the potential of Kylington could fetch quite a bit at the draft in a trade, probably a top 6 winger. If BT can swing that, it would be unreal.

      This is why defensive assets are so important, the league is always looking for dman, and trading from a position of strength to address a roster need is probably why Tre stocked up on defensive prospects

      • The Red Knight

        There’s moments where Klington reminded me of Erik Karlsson, he could be a first line D man too, he’s fast and skates awesome,perfect candidate to replace Brodie when that day comes.

        • Avalain

          Well, I mean Valimaki is slated to replace Gio when the time comes, but that leave Kylington with 3rd line LD duties for basically his entire career unless he can improve past either Valimaki or Hanifin. As great as he could be, if we need him on the right side long term it may almost be worth just trading him for a similar D who plays right. We’d probably lose something for a trade like that considering that RD are more rare than LD, but not by a ton.

    • wot96

      I have long thought that TJ would be the one to go. But his flexibility playing either side, and actually playing both sides, makes me reconsider. I would prefer to move Stone for the cap relief and I would only move Kyllinton if the return was solid but I wouldn’t move him to forward.

    • Kzak

      I can’t say what the Flames will do with Stone, but I think there’s a very real possibility that the failed Zucker/Kylington trade is revisited after the season so trying to figure out a place for him next season may be a waste of time.

  • Temple

    God bless that 4th line. First time in years we look good up and down the line-up. Mangiapane is starting to look dangerous. Wonder if a playoff series against a comparatively weak team, with favourable line changes the first two games, will give that line a chance to put up some points early.

    • The Red Knight

      Might be guys like Hathaway and Bennett that make a bigger impact, this is where TKACHUK could excel to new heights . Thursday not coming soon enough ! This is Awesome!!

      • The Red Knight

        You look at the leaders in the ohl that draft year and the year after and most of those players went in the first round then there’s Mangy getting snagged by flames in the late round now looking like a bit of a steal , the game has changed perfectly in his favour as well.

  • Albertabeef

    “the Flames could be looking at a member of their top six forward group in the very near future”
    But how does he pass Johnny or Chucky in the depthchart? They all play left wing.

  • Skylardog

    Andersson’s entry into the NHL was so smart. He focused on keeping the puck out of our net and let the offense take a back seat knowing it would come in time. It was a great approach that is paying dividends now and is a model of how we should integrate all rookie dmen

    Well done young man!

    • everton fc

      Andersson’s a very confident person, I think. And a very confident player. He’s not easily rattled. Psychologically, he’s been very much an NHL pro. His game is also “NHL-pro”.

  • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

    I think if we play well and the chips fall our way we could go on a run these playoffs, but deep down I feel it’s going to be really hard for us or anyone for that matter to beat Tampa Bay, they’re just so elite.

    That said… If I ever believe we have any chance of beating them, it’s because of Andrew Mangiapane’s coming out party down the stretch. Honestly he alone makes me feel like it might be possible. In the last 25 GP for us he became dominant. People keep talking about how good our Bottom. 6 was down the stretch and the others do deserve some credit, but for me it was mostly just Andrew Mangiapane figuring it out at the NHL level and becoming an impact player, like he’s been his entire career everywhere else,

    I still can’t get over the fact that he had to wait until the sixth round of his second year eligible to be drafted. He had already put up an NHLe of 19.6 in his rookie year in the OHL and an NHLe of 40.1 in his second year and he had to wait until the 166th Pick to be drafted!?!?! If you went over the 2015 Draft, I bet there honestly wasn’t more than 10-15 players who had a higher NHLe than him that year. If he adds a little more strength this off season, like he did last summer, I think he could comfortably in the right situation be a 55-60+ points next year easily. He’s just been that good.

  • SeanCharles

    Andersson and Mangiapane establishing roles here with Valimaki, Dube and Kylington on the cusp of doing so themselves..

    All while finishing 2nd in the league with young players like Gaudreau, Monahan, Tkachuk, Lindholm and Hanifin leading the way.

    We’re set up to contend for yrs!