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Recapping my pre-season predictions: ‘Andrew Mangiapane hits at least 25 goals’

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Photo credit:© Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
1 month ago
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Of all the predictions that I ended up getting wrong, this might be the most interesting one to delve into.
Andrew Mangiapane was part of arguably the Calgary Flames’ most reliable line with Mikael Backlund and Blake Coleman throughout the 2023-24 season. They were able to do everything, and with a new head coach behind the bench in Ryan Huska, I had full belief coming into this season that Mangiapane would manage to find twine more than he did in 2022-23.
Unfortunately, I would be proven wrong due to a myriad of different factors.

Prediction: Andrew Mangiapane hits at least 25 goals

Result: Incorrect

While Coleman was busy hitting the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career, Mangiapane was not producing the kind of goal numbers many are satisfied with. He certainly was not hitting the kind of goal numbers I believed he could hit before the season started.
In 75 games, Mangiapane posted 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points. That’s the same number of assists he had in 82 games in the 2022-23 season but three fewer goals in seven fewer games. It’s his second-fewest goal total in a season in which Mangiapane has played the majority of his games in the NHL. Additionally, the worst season in this case was 2018-19, when he only played 44 games and scored eight goals, which put him on pace for 13 goals in 75 games, almost an identical production rate to 2023-24.
On the surface, it might seem like he was on pace for a slightly better season than his prior one. By a points-per-game metric, he was by a slight margin. But in reality, some other factors were at play, leading to the reason he did not hit the 20-goal plateau, let alone the 25-goal realm.
Mangiapane’s shooting percentage was the first statistic I looked at to determine whether he was on track to hit the mark I had predicted he would finish at by season’s end. Even though it had rebounded back into the double digits, it still was not close to his career average up to this point. It was the second-lowest percentage of his career (11.5), only behind 2022-23, where he finished at a 9.3% clip.
It also doesn’t help that in seven fewer games, he finished with 60(!!) fewer shots on goal. Yes, not shot attempts, but actual shots that made it to the goal. When looking at Mangiapane’s 2022-23 numbers, he took the most total shot attempts of his career in a single season with 343. He also took the second-most shots on goal in his career with 182, and due to an abysmal shooting percentage, was not able to convert on many of those.
However, when it comes to his performance in 2023-24, Mangaipane’s shooting percentage regenerated enough to possibly add some goals to his final line, but the number of shots he took was far fewer, resulting in a lower potential goal total.
The most interesting part of Mangiapane’s season in regards to his offence is the fact that he actually created more in the goals for per 60 (GF/60) than the expected goals for per 60 (xGF/60) category, suggesting he was scoring at the correct level or even slightly above it.
Here, that statistic is represented in Evolving-Hockey’s regularized adjusted plus-minus chart:
Despite registering the third-highest point total of his career in seven fewer games than he has played in the last two seasons, the final goal total didn’t live up to the hype that I believed it could be in a potential bounce-back season for Mangiapane, especially playing on a line that was used plenty of times in different situations, even though he lost 49 seconds on his average time on ice.
At the end of the day, maybe 25 goals was a bit of a steep ask for Mangiapane, considering the only time he reached that baseline was a year in which he scored 35 goals, shot almost 20%, and played in all 82 games. However, the prediction was made with the idea in mind that he would stick around the same number of shots on goal and rebound to around his career average in shooting, all while staying healthy for the majority of the season. While the last part came true, the first two parts did not, leading to my prediction ultimately falling flat on its face.

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