The Calgary Flames should make the smart decision and send Andrew Mangiapane back to the Stockton Heat for the good of his development.
Now before anyone jumps on me and says “What about Troy Brouwer or Curtis Lazar not deserving a roster spot?”, I want to say that I agree with you. It makes no sense that they’re still consistently playing in the NHL but that’s not the point of this piece.
The point is that it makes sense to get Mangiapane back to where he can be a consistent contributor on the top units for the Heat. Through nine games with the Flames, Mangiapane is a -3 and has yet to post any points in the NHL.
Against the Blackhawks on Saturday, Mangiapane only had 7:28 of ice time, mostly skating with the bottom line or third line. Prior to that he had been scratched for the previous five games and had only played 7:27 in the game before that. It just doesn’t make sense.
I guess if you want to make a case for him to stay, it’s that for some reason the Flames are 8-0-1 when he plays despite him not making a huge impact on the score. Reminds of me of last year when the Flames had a strangely good record when Garnet Hathaway played.
Mangiapane has spent the majority of his career as a top six forward, whether it be with Barrie or Stockton. A bottom six role just doesn’t suit him at this stage in his development when the potential ceiling is still high.
Mangiapane had 35 points in 31 games in Stockton this year which would be 75 points if extrapolated to a full 66 game season. That would an improvement of approximately 34 points from his rookie year, a year where he was also outstanding.
By no means should a demotion of Mangiapane be seen in a negative light. He got the opportunity to start his NHL career over the last month or so, and I’m sure he learned a lot. Now it’s time to take those lessons and continue to build himself into a future fulltime NHLer while getting the proper reps he deserves in Stockton.
Of the players from the 2015 NHL draft picked between #49 and #211 (162 players), only FIVE players have suited up in more NHL contests than Mangiapane. So let’s not be worried at all here, he’s well ahead of the curve. Again that’s a sixth round pick playing more NHL games than 157 players picked from between the mid second round and the end of the seventh round. Impressive.
It might not be today, but Mangiapane looks like he could be a full time NHLer in the not-to-distant future. He’s a very exciting prospect.