The top priority for the Calgary Flames between now and July 13 when free agency hits is re-signing superstar Johnny Gaudreau. Next on the list is Matthew Tkachuk, that much is certain. These two superstars have dominated the headlines ever since the Flames were eliminated from the playoffs a few weeks ago, but the third priority hasn’t received the attention he deserves: Andrew Mangiapane.
Unlike Gaudreau, Mangiapane is a restricted free agent (RFA) meaning the Flames will still retain his rights after July 13. He’s become one of the most important wingers on the team and there is no doubt the Flames will want to keep him in Calgary for as long as possible. What could Mangiapane’s next contract look like?
Mangiapane’s 2021–22 performance
Like much of the roster, Mangiapane played the best hockey of his career during the 2021–22 season. The workhorse winger set career highs across the board, played consistently on one of the most important middle-six lines on the team, and sets the tone with his unrelenting work ethic both on and off the ice.
Mangiapane followed up a very impressive 2020-21 campaign where he scored 18 goals in 56 games to an absolutely insane 35 goal 2021-22 season, the 15th most goals and good for 26th overall in the NHL goal scoring race. For a player that averaged just over 15 minutes in ice time every night, that’s an absolutely incredible rate.
What makes Mangiapane really special is how responsible he is all over the ice, and how he drives play. His 5v5 shot attempt share, scoring chance share, and high danger chance share all eclipsed 58%.
|NHL Rank |
(min 500 TOI)
Out of all players in the NHL, Mangiapane ranked extremely highly in all of these major advanced statistics. Even his lowest ranks of 38th in HDCF% and 23rd in xGF% would put him as a number one or number two player on any NHL team. That’s pretty impressive for a second line winger.
Mangiapane has developed a reputation for being a hard-nosed checking forward who has a penchant for driving to the net and getting to the dirty areas of the ice. He may not stay on his feet as often as one would like, but he works his tail off on every single shift and is very responsible. He played a major role on both sides of special teams this season, with his biggest improvement coming on the penalty kill.
Mangiapane’s career performance so far
Since being selected as an over-ager in the 2015 NHL draft, Mangiapane has done nothing but impress and prove his doubters wrong.
Entry-level contract (ELC)
Mangiapane signed his ELC on March 23, 2016. The contract had a cap hit of $705K and ran for three years. Below are the numbers he put up.
|2016–17||Stockton Heat (AHL)||66||20||21||41|
|2017–18||Stockton Heat (AHL)|
Calgary Flames (NHL)
|2018–19||Stockton Heat (AHL)|
Calgary Flames (NHL)
Mangiapane showed growth in both the AHL and NHL levels over the course of his ELC. His games played in the AHL went from 66 to 39 to 15 as he spent more and more time in the NHL. By the last year of his ELC, he suited up for 44 games in a Flames uniform, putting up eight goals and 13 points in a bottom-six role. Mangiapane has always been a goals first player. Even going back to his days in Midget-AAA and during junior with the Barrie Colts in the OHL, he’s always had either more goals than assists, or the two numbers were very close.
Following his ELC, Mangiapane signed a one-year extension with the Flames as a RFA without arbitration rights. It was a two-way contract, but Mangiapane played the entire year in the NHL and showed improvement once again.
This contract signing was very wonky. Mangiapane signed for $715K which was actually less than his qualifying offer. It was speculated that Mangiapane’s family heavily interfered with negotiations which resulted in a longer holdout than Mangiapane wanted. He ultimately signed the one-year contract as a “show me” deal, and that’s exactly what he did.
|2019–20||Calgary Flames (NHL)||68||17||15||32|
This was a really interesting year for Mangiapane. He paced for 20.5 goals over a full 82 game season, a truly impressive milestone for any player projected to be at best a bottom-six player, and even more so for a sixth-round pick. He started to show that he could score a lot of goals at the NHL level as early as 2020.
This extension was the first big one for Mangiapane. It was his first one-way deal that paid him an average annual value (AAV) of $2.425M. Mangiapane was clearly an NHL player at this point, and a key contributor to the Flames. He built on his previous career-high by setting new ones in each of the next two seasons.
|2020–21||Calgary Flames (NHL)||56||18||14||32|
|2021–22||Calgary Flames (NHL)||82||35||20||55|
In the COVID-shortened 2021 season, Mangiapane set a career-high in goals with 18, which paced for 26 over a full 82 game calendar. This past season, Mangiapane smashed his previous career-highs with a whopping 35 goals and 55 points.
Once again, Mangiapane showed that he’s primarily a goal scorer, putting up more goals than assists in both years of this contract. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s important to note that he was the finisher and not the playmaker. Goals are hard to come by and goal scorers get paid well to put the puck in the net.
One of the most important things to note about Mangiapane’s upcoming contract with the Flames is that he holds arbitration rights. This shifts the leverage from Brad Treliving to Mangiapane and his agent, Ritch Winter. There are a few key deadlines when it comes to arbitration, but the most important ones are as follows:
- Player elected arbitration deadline: July 17, 2022 at 5:00PM ET
- Club elected salary arbitration (first window) deadline: July 2, 2022 at 5:00PM ET
- Club elected salary arbitration (second window): Jul 17, 2022 at 5:01PM ET to July 18, 2022 at 5:00PM ET
Essentially, if either the team or player elect for arbitration, each side will present what they want to see on the contract and an independent arbitrator will make a decision accordingly. Usually the decision is right between the two offers, but the vast majority of arbitration cases never actually get there—the player and team will agree to a contract before the arbitration hearing takes place.
This season, Mangiapane will almost surely file for arbitration for a few key reasons. Firstly, he’s coming off a career season where he scored 35 goals. He may never hit that mark again and there is no better time to file than when you hit a milestone like that. Secondly, it accelerates the contract negotiations with the Flames. With arbitration hearings taking place sometime in the middle of the summer, likely in August, this ensures that Mangiapane will have a contract in place well before training camp starts. It puts pressure on the Flames to get a deal done quickly.
Mangiapane is a very unique player. He drives play so well, scores goals at a high and steadily improving pace, and is a very important player to the team. Based on his age, career games played, goals scored, and goals per game rates, there are a few players that could be used as comparables to Mangiapane.
Based on Mangiapane’s goal scoring ability as his primary offensive skill, his experience, and his goal and point per game rates, there are a few key players from this list that stand out. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Jakub Vrana are the closest to Mangiapane in terms of career performance. Mangiapane sits right in between them in games played, goals, and points per game.
However, the most recent comparable that is almost certainly going to be used by the Mangiapane camp in negotiations is the Jared McCann deal. He signed his extension with Seattle midway through this season, and if you prorate McCann’s 2021–22 season it lines up very well with Mangiapane’s. McCann paced for 30 goals and 25 assists for 55 points, right in line with Mangiapane’s 35 goals and 20 assists for 55 points.
McCann has more experience than Mangiapane at the NHL level, but the two are almost exactly the same age (57 days apart), both score more goals than assists, and play a very similar role on their team. McCann is a centre which is a premium position, but that likely won’t matter much in this situation.
What will Mangiapane’s next contract look like?
Based on his career progression and role on the team, the Flames should be looking to sign Mangiapane for as long as they possibly can. An eight-year extension is the best possible scenario for the team, and with Mangiapane being 26 years old, this is a great time to cash in after a career year and get seriously paid well into his thirties. There should be a lot of motivation on both sides to sign a lengthy extension, somewhere between six and eight years.
In terms of salary, the McCann deal should serve as a very good baseline. A 35-goal scorer should be making north of $5M, and it’s extremely likely that this is right around where Mangiapane will land. His other comparables in Bjorkstrand and Vrana make slightly more, $5.4M and $5.25M respectively, so this seems to be a pretty safe range for Mangiapane.
The most likely scenario is a six- to eight-year deal between $5M and $5.5M.
Mangiapane is a core piece
Mangiapane has become one of the most important players on the team. He was drafted and developed by the Flames and the organization has done a lot to grow him into the bonafide NHLer he now is. It makes a ton of sense for both the player and the team to get a long-term deal done and avoid arbitration, and despite the lack of true comparables, there are a few contracts that can easily be used as a baseline.
It’s important to hold onto the players you draft and develop. The best teams in the NHL are built through the draft, and it’s important for the Flames to show they value Mangiapane. Of course, Gaudreau and Tkachuk are the top priorities, but Mangiapane is next without question.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire