Heading into the Calgary Flames’ 2021-22 campaign, I had a funny feeling that Andrew Mangiapane was going to light it up. Yes, the 5-foot-10 forward was coming off a career year in the NHL, but I’m convinced that it was the first taste of international hockey that really took his game to the next level.
Mangiapane arrived late to the 2021 IIHF World Hockey Championships but once he suited up, he completely revived a winless Canadian squad and then carried the team on his back. Not only did they not lose a game in regulation the rest of the way, but the speedy winger also led his team with seven goals en route to a gold medal and was named the MVP of the tournament.
Mangiapane carried that strong play into the regular season and started the 2021-22 campaign playing on a shutdown line with Mikael Backlund and Blake Coleman (and later Tyler Toffoli). The unit was very successful in eating up tough minutes, but it wasn’t No. 88’s defensive game that got tongues wagging across the hockey world. No sir. It was the fact that he was scoring buckets and buckets of goals…just none at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Mangiapane’s Hot Start Set an NHL Record for Road Goals
Mangiapane scored in the Flames’ first game of the regular season against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place, but it certainly wasn’t his last road goal of the year. Rather, it was just the beginning of an incredible run that saw the 26-year-old winger break a rather odd NHL record.
On Feb. 1 against the Dallas Stars, Mangiapane potted his 20th marker of the season – giving him 19 on the road and just one at home. That’s the most road goals in a player’s first 20 goals of a season in NHL history. It was kind of a weird achievement, but it also showed the league just how gifted the Toronto native was in the offensive zone. Hockey fans outside of Calgary were finally taking notice of the fourth-year Flame.
Mangiapane Made the Most of His Ice Time
After kicking off the season with an incredible seven snipes in his first six games, Mangiapane’s scoring pace ebbed and flowed for the remainder of the campaign, finishing up at a very impressive 35 goals and 55 points in 82 games. That ended up being tied for the 15th most goals in the league and was good for 26th overall in the NHL goal-scoring race. What made the feat all the more compelling was that he did it with significantly less ice time than the other scoring leaders.
While players like Elias Lindholm were playing almost 20 minutes a night, Mangiapane pulled off a career year while averaging just over 15 minutes of ice time a game. He also scored a tonne of even-strength goals, and his advanced stats were off the charts in 2021-22 – scoring chance share, 5v5 shot attempt share and high danger chance share all surpassed 58 percent. Incredibly, when the guy they call the “Bread Man” started his season with seven goals in six games, he was only averaging 12 even-strength minutes a night during that hot stretch. Not too shabby.
Mangiapane’s Career Year Sets up Interesting Offseason
After playing in all 82 regular-season contests, Mangiapane had a solid but unspectacular postseason, scoring three goals and adding three helpers in 12 playoff games. However, it’s the offseason that is grabbing the most attention these days. Will the speedy winger be armed with a fresh, multi-year deal when they drop the puck on the 2022-23 campaign? While the top priority for the organization between now and July 13 (when free agency begins) has to be re-signing superstars Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, inking the team’s 35-goal scorer should also be on their minds too.
Unlike Gaudreau, Mangiapane is a restricted free agent (RFA), so that means the Flames will still retain his rights after July 13. If he accepts a qualifying offer or gets a one-year deal out of arbitration, that would walk the 26-year-old to free agency in the summer of 2023. That would be a pretty big risk on management’s behalf, so I’m fairly certain most Flames fans would love to see general manager Brad Treliving lock up the team’s fourth-leading scorer to a long-term deal.
For the past two years, Mangiapane has been paid a mere $2.425 million per season, but after putting up back-to-back career campaigns, I predict the versatile forward will be making at least double that salary after signing a new contract. I think it’s high time the “Bread Man” finally cashes in and makes some real dough.
FINAL GRADE: A
Greg Tysowski is a former broadcast journalist who chose the exciting life of a stay-at-home dad for over a decade. He’s now a published author, parenting blogger and aspiring sports writer covering the Calgary Flames for The Hockey Writers. Greg is also a regular contributor to the weekly roundtable discussion “Flames Faceoff”, now streaming on YouTube and all podcast outlets.