Andrew Mangiapane is starting the 2023-24 season with a bang
Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
A new season begins, and new opportunities arise for many on the Calgary Flames roster. There are plenty of players who have made an impact this early in the 2023-24 season, but one who has managed to make himself stand out is Andrew Mangiapane.
In 2021-22, we saw just how good Mangiapane can be, scoring 35 goals and adding 20 assists for 55 points in a full 82-game season. But last season, there were lots of factors that contributed to the decrease in scoring. He increased his assist output, but his goal total went way down to 17, which is the third time he has hit that number in his career, not including the 35-goal year (he hit 17 in 2019-20 and 18 in 2021-22). Why did it go down so much? Well, couple a primarily defensive system with a major drop in shooting percentage (18.9% down to 9.3%), and you get a goal total that is half as impressive, even though he was still getting into high-danger areas as evidenced in this visual:
Mangiapane’s career average shooting percentage going into last season was 17.3%, which is a very high number. He gets to high-danger areas and doesn’t take an incredible amount of shots, which has inflated that shooting percentage. Even with last season’s percentage as low as it was, his career average is just above 15 percent. And the likelihood that we see him return to that form this season appears to be high, given his performances over the first handful of games.
The defense could be a bit of an issue (Mangiapane wasn’t very strong in that department last season either), but when it comes to creating offense, he has been more than solid. In four games, he has two goals, including Calgary’s first goal of the season, and he leads the Flames in goals for percentage (GF%) at 76.26. He’s also 10th in expected goals for per 60 (xGF/60), and when you’re shooting from areas like this, that number is bound to improve.
Not only has Mangiapane been impactful in the goal column, he has also been impactful moving the puck around the ice. He got rewarded for his vision on this goal by Elias Lindholm in the first game of the season as well:
Mangiapane is a crucial piece to this Flames roster, not just because of what he brings with his speed and defensive capabilities but also because of what he can do when he has the puck on his stick in the offensive zone. Playing with Jonathan Huberdeau and Elias Lindholm has its advantages, and we have been able to watch him take full advantage of the opportunity head coach Ryan Huska is giving him. He’s a good leader for the young players on the Flames, consistently demonstrating the importance of giving your all every shift, and he has been rewarded in the box score thus far. If he can improve his output on the defensive side of things, he will be a force to be reckoned with (again).
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