26Andrew Mangiapane
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

FlamesNation player evaluation: Andrew Mangiapane

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.

44 8 5 13 10:33 54.85 0.28 54.14 1.031

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.

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

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Another smallish player, but plays harder than the Johnny, Ryan or Czanik. Tre under estimated how the game is played, the league is definitely faster than say the old Kings style, but as we’ve seen in the playoffs, size still matters.

  • withachance

    Seeing STL and BOS in the finals, I’ve realized that size and hitting is not the end all be all.

    Boston is not a big team at all other than Chara. STL is big on the back end, but their forwards are also on the smallish end. Their best forwards have been Marchand and Schwartz, who are both pretty small. Out of the 16 teams in the playoffs, BOS is 10th for hits and STL is 13th. This is why arguments like Monny and Johnny needs to be traded because they dont hit annoy me to no end. Hit counts are a terrible stat for a player’s toughness

    We see that hits and size arent indicators for success. Its the ability to be physical and set the tone for the rest of the game. Thats not hitting for the sake of hitting or starting fights. Its the ability to blend team toughness (resilience and intensity) with speed and talent that gets team to the finals. Flames definitely have the latter two, but it looks like only a few players contribute to the first (Bennett, Gio, Tkachuk, Mangi, Hammer, Johnny). Once everyone gets on the same page as these guys, this team will be scary.

    • deantheraven

      Funny how I mention size and FN gets defensive. I never suggested anyone should be “hitting for the sake of hitting or starting fights”, and yet out come the trashers.
      You compare Boston and St Louis to the Flames line up.
      Read this: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&channel=trow&q=boston+bruins+size
      Check the peter De boer quote about how the two hardest teams are in the finals now.
      Marchand isn’t exactly small and certainly doesn’t play that way. Same for Schwartz.If you remember way back in the way back, (November) Craig Berube took over the bench and immediately the Blues got more physical and started winning. They were last in the league, and forechecked their way to the finals with solid physical play and yes, grit. There was an article earlier this spring about David Backes adopting a kind of “enforcer” role because that’s was all that he could bring to the team. He ‘s scoring, too.
      You’re right, team toughness, speed and talent get teams to the finals. For the Flames, sadly it’s two -out-of-three right now. Like it or not, until the NHL calls the playoffs they way they call penalties in the regular season, the Flames are still a piece or two away from truly contending.

    • Nighteyes

      Totally agree with your analysis withachance. The obsession with grit and toughness on this board since the flames lost is too much. The Jurassic era mentality is so resilient. The Flames didn’t lose to Colorado because we weren’t tough enough. Colorado isn’t a particularly physical or intimidating team. They simply had way way better puck control, tenacity, speed and tactics. They just had the puck most of the time, and did it with a kind of intensity just not seen on the Flames. I didn’t see Colorado rough us up or physically intimidate us at all. They were just better. Yes the flames could have roughed them up more to get them off their game, but for me it was the intensity/tenacity factor, they just had the puck on a string stifled our attack because Johnny would just run into the zone himself. For next season, I say we need more speed and to find a way to up our intensity, which is much harder. Of course, gritty functional forwards help, but they’re not the solution. You need an effective attack, which we just didn’t have.

    • calgaryfan

      yes you are bang on withachance, Flames need to play with more intensity and desire when the games matter. Peter’s and Treliving will have too figure out which players on the team can do that and which ones need to go.

      • deantheraven

        Agreed, Fan but we’re engaging in a semantic argument here. More intensity, more desire…. does that not equal “grit”? More intensity, more desire IS Grit Factor. We don’t need 6 guys who are willing to drop ’em. Scratch that. We DO need guys who are willing. The battle for the Stanley Cup is a BATTLE, like no other in pro sport. SJS is out because they got beat up, not because they were out-skilled. Boston out-hit CBJ and CAR and still scored. Through the season, a guy or two can step up and the whole team plays with swagger, and everyone has more room to weave the magic that the best-skilled players show.
        And how many times has someone here posted about how having a tough guy makes everyone “play bigger”?
        Look, I’m not saying we need an enforcer. I can accept that the league is evolving, and I applaud it.
        That doesn’t change the fact that come late April, “intensity” and “desire” are what fuel championship contenders. Having guys that can battle harder, that can give whack -for-whack and carry on, that can up there level of compete is absolutely mandatory.

        • calgaryfan

          We are in agreement I think the fighter who plays 5 minutes is useless but teams need some aggression in the lineup but they have to be able to play a regular shift and contribute.

    • Franko J

      @ withachance:

      I say both the coaches and players were reading too many press clipping prior to the playoffs and the team as whole thought just because they had over 100 points in the season the first round was going to be easy. The same thing could be said for the Lightening, for the Caps, for the Sharks, and for the Cinderella Hurricanes and Bluejackets. The team as a whole did not know how to handle the adversity playoff hockey presents and when Mackinnon scored the OT goal in game 2 they were done. I agree that the Flames just didn’t show enough resiliency and intensity against the AV’s which truly cost them the series.

      There is a reason why the Flames are not playing in the finals, just like the other 13 teams. It is not because they were not fast enough, big enough, didn’t hit enough, and definitely not because they lacked the talent. The main reason they are golfing, vacationing, watching from the sidelines right now is that every player on the Flames lacked the necessary mental fortitude and resilience require to win playoff hockey. Simply put they just weren’t mentally prepared for the grind the playoffs presented.

      This team can trade for all the Zucker’s, Kadri’s, Malkins, or whoever is out there, it still will not a make a difference until the Tkachuk’s, Monahan’s, Giordano, and Gaudreau’s on this team truly realize what it takes and what must be done to win a championship. Just go ask the Caps who finally won last year
      after years of trying, or the Sharks who just lost once again the opportunity for a chance at the cup.

      Why is Boston and St. Louis in the cup final this year? The answer is not that simple but it is that effective. The word is desire. It is an immeasurable factor or intangible that you cannot place on how big a player is, how fast a player can be, or how talented player is. In any sport if you don’t have the desire to be better than your opponent, the result will always be the same. Watching from the sidelines.

  • freethe flames

    I have said for a long time now that his progression reminds me of Paul Byron; he is now IMO ahead of where Byron was at the same age. If the Flames waive him he will likely be claimed. I wonder if he will be given a look at a RW spot if the Flames do not add a significant couple of RW. Dube also played a fair bit of RW in the AHL.(according to our Heat reporter SF) If you can sign him for a little more for a little longer I would consider it. $1.1m at 3/4 years I think would be a good investment.

    • deantheraven

      Really, Stu? In this league, there seems to be a big leap from bottom to top 6 and a real hesitation to give those spots to guys who have a less than stellar pedigree. I would be very happy if Andrew Mangiapanes his way to the top two lines someday, but my guess is both management and coaching staff want a guy who they think is that guy now. That means a trade or FA signing first before they drop Mangi in there .
      Temper your expectations, you Lovers of the Bread Man. He may rise through the ranks, he may not. In the end we know he’s got some fire to him and that has value regardless where he slots in.
      One more year “Show me” deal. Push somebody down on your way up.

  • 🐃🐖

    Get this kid off the fourth line. He is not an energy, bang and crash guy. He has a lot of offensive talent and should be given a legit chance to play middle 6 with some other like minded, offensive guys.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Been saying it for most of 2019, but there is no reason why Mangipane can’t be a perennial 20+ goal scorer in this league. Would hate to see him tossed in as a throw-in in a deal because there is sure a lot to like about him, and he doesn’t cost much for a team with cap issues. Mangipane is to forwards as Kylington is to defencemen. When Tre puts on his Trader Tre hat, I am sure his fellow GMs are going to try and pry both of these up and comers away from the Flames. Don’t do it, Tre. Young, cheap, talented and still with lots of room to grow. These are the kind of guys the Flames need as much as any other club, so I wouldn’t trade them if I were Tre.