The Calgary Flames seem very certain that Elias Lindholm should be the centre on Jonathan Huberdeau‘s line. However, picking the right winger has been a process. At the start of training camp, Yegor Sharangovich took that right wing spot, however, as camp proceeded, Andrew Mangiapane ended up filling the role, and it is a spot Mangiapane has right now. There are many options for the team to take, but the main goal should be finding the best chemistry for Huberdeau. So who should be the right winger on that top line? We asked, you answered.
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Picking the right winger for the top line
Mangiapane might be the most qualified player out of all the options. He has been one of the most reliable players, especially when it comes to putting up solid metrics. Additionally, Mangiapane on paper would be a very good play driver for that top line, which is something that they desperately need. Mangiapane could be the greatest fit for the top line and I don’t find it surprising at all that this is the option the Flames are going with for now. Despite that, I don’t think Mangiapane will be the player that stays there most of the season.
I know that he is a rookie. I know that we need to manage expectations. And I know that it might be unfair to ask the kid to take on this role. But does he not fit that top line perfectly? Huberdeau would have a natural goal scorer with one of, if not the best shots on the team on his right side ready to finish off his passes. It seems like a perfect match that isn’t a matter of if it will happen, but more so when. Right now the team should be focused on getting Coronato as comfortable as possible with the NHL and getting solid minutes, but I truly believe that Coronato not only will take that top line role, but will succeed.
Dube seems to always find himself jumping around the lineup. One night he will be in the top-six, and the next night he might be on the fourth line. He is pretty versatile and can serve whatever purpose he is assigned, but how much of a top-six player is Dillon Dube? When he plays well, he looks outstanding, but then there are nights when he doesn’t seem all that noticeable. Dube is an NHL player don’t get me wrong; however, I am not sure I would classify him as a top-six forward. Not yet at least. And if that’s the case, I don’t think it’s worth giving him top line minutes.
One of the more interesting storylines is the fall of Sharangovich has had from the start of training camp to now. He started off on the top line and top power play. Now, he is on the fourth line and gets no power play time. It’s clear he is in the dog house right now. For a player who was traded for Tyler Toffoli, the expectations were much higher for Sharangovich. In New Jersey, he showed that he had the potential to take on a goal-scorer role—after all, he put up 24 goals in 2021–22 with no power play time. He might still end up producing for the Flames, but it is clear that he has some work to do to get the coaching staff to give him an opportunity.
The opportunity is there for the taking
To me, this seems like a two-horse race between Mangiapne and Coronato. I think Mangiapane stays for the next 10 games or so, but look out for Coronato. I firmly believe he is going to take over this role and thrive.