The Calgary Flames need Andrew Mangiapane to start scoring again

Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
1 year ago
The regular season for the Calgary Flames is coming to an end soon, and they’re still in the hunt for the second wild-card spot. The Winnipeg Jets have been winning games recently, which doesn’t bode well, but there’s still a chance.
However, if the Flames want that chance, they need their best players to be, well, their best players.
In an article I wrote about the Flames needing to take advantage of the Jets gradually faltering, I mentioned that Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm, especially, were two players of note that hadn’t played up to standard for a solid amount of time. Then, they went out and combined for four points (1G, 3A) against the Ottawa Senators.
In this article, Andrew Mangiapane will be my player of focus because, even though he has been one of the better players analytically for the Flames in 2022-23, it’s about time he gets on the scoresheet, especially at this crucial time of the year.
Everyone knows what Mangiapane is capable of doing in terms of on-ice performance. He’s a fast, determined player that can forecheck very well, and, as the icing on the cake, he’s a player that can score plenty of goals. In 2021-22, he had 35 goals alone, which is clearly an outlier. However, I don’t see a reason he couldn’t hit the 25 or 30-goal mark in the right circumstances. But that most likely won’t happen this season. He’s usually a solid two-way presence in Calgary’s lineup, but this season has been the opposite.
Not only has Mangiapane’s defense been poor by the analytics (and not up to par by fan expectations), but so has his tangible offensive output. He’s generating lots of expected goals (12th highest in the NHL in expected goals for per 60 (xGF/60) among skaters with at least 850 minutes of time on ice), but his goals for per 60 (GF/60) is not as high as one might think it would be. Below is his regularized adjusted plus-minus chart from Evolving-Hockey.
The number of shot attempts from Mangiapane is also very high, but he’s not getting much to go in. One of the biggest detriments to his offensive success has also been his lack of success on the power-play. Last season in 82, he scored eight goals on the man advantage. This season, he has none.
The main question that still lingers is, could this carry over into next season? My answer would be that it’s not likely. Someone producing that output of expected goals and not getting much in return for two seasons is rare. For those that may not like analytics, all it takes is a look at his career-low 8.5 percent shooting, which is slightly seven percent lower than his previous low in the same amount of games played.
The Flames have other issues to work out, but Mangiapane being snake-bitten is a big reason that the offense hasn’t been as potent as some may believe it could be. He needs to step up big time for the rest of the season; otherwise, losses like the one the Flames took against the Arizona Coyotes will continue to happen, and the playoffs will be a thing of the past.

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