Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Mangiapane should get that bread after fantastic 2021-22 campaign
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
In terms of drafting and development success stories in Calgary Flames history, Andrew Mangiapane is one of the best. A late round pick drafted in his second year of eligibility, Mangiapane has worked his way up through the ranks and is on the verge of becoming a bonafide National Hockey League star.
Just finishing off the final year of his current contract, Mangiapane is about to become pretty pricey after a tremendous offensive season.
Mangiapane was both a late bloomer and a short kid, so he didn’t play any games in the Ontario Hockey League until his first year of draft eligibility. He caught on with the Barrie Colts and had 51 points, good for third in rookie scoring behind Travis Konecny and Mitch Marner, who were both a year younger than him. But Mangiapane’s lack of a OHL track record – which made it tough to gauge progression – probably held him back from selection in the 2014 NHL Draft.
The next season, Mangiapane erased all doubts about his abilities as an OHLer: he finished tied for fifth in league scoring at 104 points, tied with Alex DeBrincat. He still didn’t get selected in the 2015 NHL Draft until the sixth round, because he was small. He went off for 106 points as a 19-year-old in his post-draft season in his farewell to the OHL in 2015-16.
Mangiapane’s pro progression is basically the textbook example of player development working well.
- In 2016-17, he played a full AHL schedule as a 20-year-old, netting 41 points in 66 games for Stockton and really clicking on a line with Mark Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway.
- In 2017-18, he jumped to 46 points in 39 games for Stockton and played 10 NHL games as a call-up, playing on the fourth line and looking a little tentative.
- In 2018-19, he started the season in the AHL and had 17 points in 15 games. He was called up a couple months into the season, found a niche on the fourth line with Derek Ryan and Hathaway, and stuck around for the remainder of the season (and playoffs).
Mangiapane became a full-time NHLer in 2019-20, amassing 32 points in 68 games while moving up in the rotation. He was attached to Matthew Tkachuk for most of the season, playing with either Elias Lindholm or Mikael Backlund as their centre. His defensive responsibilities increased, but he was able to play at pace with good players, against good players, and generally performed well in his role.
He bounced around a bit during the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, playing with Milan Lucic/Backlund, Lindholm/Tkachuk or Backlund/Tkachuk for much of the season. He increased his offensive output to 32 points in 56 games. With the Flames eliminated from playoff contention, Mangiapane went over to Europe and was the best player for Canada’s gold medal World Championship team.
Compared to prior seasons, Mangiapane had a really consistent spot and role in 2021-22, and it probably helped him take another step offensively. Mangiapane was a fixture on the “tough minutes” line, playing on the left side of Backlund all season long. On the right side was usually Blake Coleman, but for a stretch late in the season Tyler Toffoli was used on that line, as Coleman was put with Dillon Dube and Calle Jarnkrok in an attempt to balance out the lines. (It didn’t work amazingly well.)
Playing with a pair of strong two-way players in Backlund and Coleman allowed Mangiapane to stick to what made him effective: tenacious fore-checking and creating scoring chances either off the rush or off the cycle in the offensive zone. He’s not the world’s greatest defensive player and occasionally he whiffs on assignments, but he’s a capable checker who battles well in the corners and is adept at creating turnovers and scoring chances for himself and his linemates.
The combination of linemates and his continued development resulted in a superb offensive season for Mangiapane, as he erupted for 35 goals and 55 points in 82 games. The only players with more goals for the Flames were the top line trio of Johnny Gaudreau, Lindholm and Tkachuk, who all received first unit power play time. (Mangiapane was almost exclusively on the second unit.) No Flame scored more goals on road ice than Mangiapane.
Simply put: the Flames were a good, dangerous offensive team with Mangiapane on the ice, and his emergence really made them a tougher team to game-plan against in terms of line matching.
Mangiapane will become a restricted free agent on July 13 with arbitration rights, and it’ll be interesting to see how his negotiation is handled. Coming out of his entry-level deal, you could argue that nobody really knew what his ceiling was, so a one-year “show me” deal made sense for both sides. Then he signed a two-year “show me” deal with a bigger cap hit ($2.425 million). After showing Flames management twice, perhaps this is Mangiapane’s time to cash in and get that bread.
If he accepts his qualifying offer or gets a one-year deal out of arbitration, that would walk him to free agency in the summer of 2023. After spending time and resources developing Mangiapane’s talents, surely the Flames would prefer to lock him down. But with a lot of challenging contract negotiations to juggle this summer, who knows if there will be enough cap space to give him a serious long-term offer.
Needless to say: Mangiapane has bet on himself many times, put in the work, and he emerged in 2021-22 as a really, really good offensive player. He certainly has earned a hefty raise on his next deal.
2021-22 Flames player evaluations
Johnny Gaudreau | Calle Jarnkrok | Matthew Tkachuk | Trevor Lewis | Jacob Markstrom | Dillon Dube | Elias Lindholm | Chris Tanev | Adam Ruzicka | Milan Lucic
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