Evaluating Riley Damiani’s 20 games with the Calgary Wranglers in 2023-24

Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
1 month ago
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The Calgary Wranglers didn’t have a lot of trades that affected their lineup over the course of the 2023-24 season, but one they did included a swap for Riley Damiani from the Texas Stars. In exchange, they gave up long-time Flames AHLer Emilio Pettersen. Both needed a fresh start away from the organizations that drafted them, but did Damiani find that in Calgary?

The past

Riley Damiani was born in Mississauga, Ontario and grew up playing hockey locally for the Mississauga Rebels then the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. He played four seasons with the Rangers and was an alternate captain in his third year then captain of the team in his fourth year. In 2016-17, he played in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge for Canada and earned a goal and two assists in five games.
In the 2018 NHL entry draft, Damiani was drafted in the fifth round, 137th overall by the Dallas Stars. After he finished up his last season with the Rangers, he made his AHL debut with the Texas Stars on March 13, 2019. In his next year, he played half a season with the Texas Stars registering 36 points in 26 games consisting of 11 goals and 25 assists. This caught the eye of the NHL parent team and he earned himself a call-up the following year.
He played his first NHL game on December 14, 2021, and registered a goal in his first big league appearance. 
Damiani got another six games in the league over the next month and a half and finished with a goal and an assist with the Dallas Stars that season. For the rest of his time with the Texas Stars, he earned over 30 points in 55+ games played in 2021-22 and 2022-23. He had two seasons tying his best production with 36 points. He just hit that point production much faster in his rookie year.

The present 

Damiani played the majority of the season with the Texas Stars. He played in 53 AHL games with Texas registering 10 goals and 13 assists. On March 7th, his trade over to Calgary was made and he played the remainder of the regular season and post-season with the Wranglers. 
His spot in the lineup wasn’t super easy to find at first and he had different looks on lines with Brett Sutter, Clark Bishop, Mitch McLain, Jakob Pelletier, Cole Schwindt, Lucas Ciona and Jonathan Aspirot. What remained consistent between a revolving door of linemates, is that he was usually found on the third or fourth line. 
He played 14 regular season games with the Wranglers and only put up one point with a single goal in this time. This goal came on March 26th against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. 
In playoffs, Damiani played in all six games and registered a go-ahead goal in their second game of the Tucson Roadrunners series. 
In his 20-game preview with the Wranglers this season, he only put up these two goals. He didn’t look like a super dangerous player but he was chippy on the ice. I’m not sure he really found the right line pairing to be the most effective or a role that really fit the Wranglers lineup in his limited time with the team.

The future

Riley Damiani’s contract was a one-year two-way deal for last season and this summer, he becomes a restricted free agent. I am not 100% confident the organization saw enough out of him in 20 games that make a huge argument to re-sign him. However, he is an option if they find themselves needing a centre they want to develop at the AHL level. He very well could be on the move once again this off-season.

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