While the hockey stick graph was originally coined in regards to climate change, it also seems appropriate for the progression of Andrew Mangiapane, who unlike most climatologists actually wields a hockey stick. Having been on the cusp of making the NHL for the past few years, he was finally able to put the pieces together and show immense strides to end off his entry-level contract, and the best may be yet to come.
2018-19 season summary
Mangiapane began the season down in the American Hockey League, one of the last cuts the Calgary Flames made during training camp. Despite having a fairly decent pre-season, there was just too much talent at the top for him to stick around and Dillon Dube quite frankly had the better training camp.
When Dube was injured in November, it seemed like the ideal time to recall Mangiapane who once again had been excelling down in Stockton. However, Mangiapane was also soon dealing with a minor injury, but this would not keep him away for long. At the end of November, the tiny winger would be called up and get the chance to play his first games of the season, dressing for seven games in December.
However, he was still chasing that first NHL point and some of the shine had worn off since his recall, and the Flames decided to send him down and give Kerby Rychel a shot instead. That wouldn’t last long though, as Mangiapane would return in January and shortly bank his first NHL point, an assist in a 7-1 drubbing of Arizona. Besides a quick trip to California during the NHL all-star game, he would remain with the Flames for the rest of the season.
Things really seemed to click in February, where he picked up his first NHL goal and then began to contribute on a semi-consistent basis, forming a very effective line with Derek Ryan and Garnet Hathaway. By the time the end of the season rolled around, he came within spitting distance of 10 goals, which was a great step forward for someone who was too good for the AHL but couldn’t make it work in the NHL.
|GAMES PLAYED||GOALS||ASSISTS||POINTS||TOI/GP||5V5 CF%||5V5 CF% REL||OZS%||PDO|
Truly an easy guy to root for, Mangiapane broke through at the NHL level, and even got a few cracks at the top six when Bill Peters would shuffle his lines. As pointed out by our Pat Steinberg, while Mangiapane wasn’t blowing off the doors with his counting stats, his underlying numbers toward the end of the season showed he was truly making his presence known. He spent much more time on the attack than he did defending, and he was driving his line forward as opposed to just being a passenger.
He also became the first (and only) Flame in four years to collect a game-winning goal in the playoffs, which was also Mangiapane’s first playoff goal. While GWGs don’t really tell us much about the player, it’s better to have them in your stat line than not to. Plus, when they look as pretty as this one does, it’s a nice milestone to look back on.
— Sportsnet 960 (@Sportsnet960) April 12, 2019
All in all, this bodes well for Mangiapane, as the Flames aren’t lacking in left-handed forwards and the ones not named Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk need to stand out for good reasons. This could be the start of something going very right for the bread eater.
Compared to last season
Mangiapane got off to a blazing start in the minors last year alongside Mark Jankowski and Hathaway, but was left behind when his linemates got called up and he stayed in California. He got a cup of coffee with the team in December, but wasn’t able to capitalize and spent the majority of his season down in Stockton.
Still, his AHL season was a fantastic one for the young prospect, as he led the Heat in multiple categories including goals, points, primary points, and 5v5 points. The only downside to his season was that it was cut short thanks to a shoulder surgery with a month left to play. When you consider what he was able to do in such a short amount of time last year, it seemed like a given that eventually Mangiapane was going to find a way to break through.
What about next season?
Mangiapane should start the season with the Flames, complete with a new contract and a raise. Evolving Wild’s contract predictions estimate that the new contract will be for two years, and just shy of a million dollars per year. That seems like the perfect next step for Mangiapane to keep proving that his diminutive stature is not enough to keep him from the NHL, and reward the Flames for taking a shot on him back in 2015. While he likely won’t be a top six forward given the top talent in Calgary in 2019-20, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see bumps in both his ice time and his P/60.
2018-19 player evaluations
#4 Rasmus Andersson | #5 Mark Giordano | #7 TJ Brodie | #8 Juuso Valimaki | #10 Derek Ryan | #11 Mikael Backlund | #13 Johnny Gaudreau | #18 James Neal | #19 Matthew Tkachuk | #21 Garnet Hathaway | #23 Sean Monahan | #24 Travis Hamonic | #27 Austin Czarnik | #28 Elias Lindholm | #33 David Rittich | #41 Mike Smith | #55 Noah Hanifin | #58 Oliver Kylington | #67 Michael Frolik | #77 Mark Jankowski