Breaking down how great Andrew Mangiapane is for the Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames crossed another to-do list item off and it was a big one. Andrew Mangiapane just re-signed a two year deal with an AAV of $2.425 million. His most recent season saw him putting up 32 points, 29 of which were at 5v5. Even more impressively, he did much of this while playing wing on the team’s shutdown line, matching up night in and night out against the league’s most dominant scoring lines.

His promotion onto the second line became permanent after the Flames traded away Michael Frolik to the Buffalo Sabres. From there on, Mangiapane shone and really highlighted his strength as a two-way forward.

He was able to drive play from the defensive zone by breaking up plays and making smart moves to breakout. Then offensively he wasn’t afraid to get into the corners and make plays to his two linemates, Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund.

However both Tkachuk and Backlund have the ability to make whoever plays with them look better. Alan Quine, Austin Czarnik and the aforementioned Frolik all looked significantly better with them than without.

In Mangiapane’s case, when Tkachuk went down with injury, the second line looked like a shell of their former self. Unable to drive play or contain the offensive guns of the Stars, the Flames struggled mightily without Tkachuk, and asked the question of how good Mangiapane and Backlund are without him.

How good was Mangiapane in 2019-20

To say Mangiapane was outstanding last season is not an overstatement. He was incredible. Comparing him among the Flames top six forwards in the regular season at 5v5 (Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm, Backlund, Tkachuk and himself), he did more than pull his own weight despite playing significantly less minutes.

iCFiSCFiHDCFiXG
Andrew Mangiapane188 (5th)135 (4th)61 (3rd)11.5 (5th)

All stats at 5v5 courtesy of Natural Stat Trick. If you want to know more about these statistics, read our primer here.

Looking at the five other forwards that comprise the top six, Mangiapane is the one that feels the most unknown, whose ceiling feels yet to be determined. All of the other five make significantly more than him and have been heralded as stars on this team for the last couple of years and beyond. Mangiapane, however, came in and showed without a doubt that he belongs in this group.

Notice how in none of these individual categories was he last among the six, and he played almost one hundred fewer minutes than the next closest player. Considering these are counting stats, the fact that in much less time he still racked up more shot attempts and expected goals speaks volumes of what he does for the team. Not bad for the sixth round pick.

On top of that, he was near the bottom of all Flames’ skaters in terms of offensive zone start (OZS) ratios. He had a 46.0% OZS yet was able to create all these offensive chances without the help of starting on the attack. For reference, Gaudreau and Monahan started 61.4% and 60.0% of their shifts in the offensive zone.

Shifting towards a more visual side, let’s visit some of Micah Blake McCurdy’s (@IneffectiveMath) visualizations for Mangiapane in 2019-20.

These images look at offensive generation, particularly shot rates. The more red you see, the more shots were taken in that area. Someone who creates offence should expect to see a lot more red zones than blue.

In Mangiapane’s case, the differences could not be more clear. Mangiapane was an excellent driver at 5v5 and made the Flames offence so much better when he was on the ice.

Mangiapane means “Eat Bread”

Teams always look at lines as having drivers and passengers. Like Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust, one was clearly a driver and the other clearly a passenger. Looking at how players did with and without one of their linemates gives some indication of who is driving play on the line. Looking at the numbers, Mangiapane is not just looking good based on his teammates. He makes them better.

GM Brad Treliving is one heck of a manager to be able to secure Mangiapane for under $3 million dollars a season, and to have him as an RFA when his contract comes due for renewal. With many expecting him to be making somewhere between $3 and 4 million a season, this is exceptionally good value for a team with limited cap space.

If Mangiapane continues to produce at this level, he is going to command much much more in 2022. And he’ll decidedly deserve every bit of it. So go ahead Andrew, get that bread.

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