The Calgary Flames signed Andrew Mangiapane to a two-year contract extension on Friday, Oct. 16. This extension allowed him and the Flames to avoid salary arbitration, which is important for the team/player relationship going forward as it prevents a potentially disastrous situation. He was the second-to-last restricted free agent that Brad Treliving will have to reach an agreement with while the final RFA, defenseman Oliver Kylington, remains unsigned to this point. Mangiapane’s two-year deal carries an average annual value of $2.425 million.
Mangiapane’s History and Contract
Mangiapane was the Flames sixth-round pick in the 2015 draft. He made his NHL debut during the 2017-18 season, but he only played 10 games and failed to record a point that season. Although he wasn’t remarkable during the 2018-19 season, he did enough to earn a full roster spot for 2019-20. He then took a major step forward last season and appears to be a mainstay on the Flames roster for years to come.
The Toronto native scored 17 goals and a total of 32 points through 68 games, which is very impressive for a player in their first full NHL season. Even more impressive, is the fact that only one of his points came on the power play, which was a single assist. If head coach Geoff Ward chooses to give Mangiapane more ice time with the man advantage, then he could potentially reach the 25-goal mark, or even higher, in the coming season.
Considering his production at even strength, it would not be surprising if he’s put on the regular second unit power play; however, he’ll need to capitalize on any opportunities he’s given even if they are few and far between to start the season as he failed to do so previously.
Another important aspect of this contract is that Mangiapane will still be a restricted free agent upon expiration. While he’ll only be one year away from unrestricted free agency, having that additional contract extension while he’s restricted will certainly benefit the Flames significantly.
Mangiapane played a majority of his shifts last season alongside Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund, which will more than likely be where he will start the upcoming season at this point in time.
Leading the “Youth” in Calgary
The first and second-year players are going to be key to the Flames success and Mangiapane will likely be the man at the front of that charge. Mangiapane, Dillon Dube, Juuso Valimaki, and Glenn Gawdin are all expected to have significant roles with the team this upcoming season. Mangiapane is the oldest of this group at 24 years of age, however, he’s also the most experienced at the NHL level.
While these players would be considered the “youth” of most franchises, it’s difficult to call them that with the Flames as many of them aren’t that much younger than most of the team’s current core of players. It’s easy to forget that Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are only 27 and 26 years old respectively, not to mention that Matthew Tkachuk is younger than most of the upcoming prospects as he’s still only 22. Assuming Mangiapane continues his development at his recent rate, he’ll be a major piece of the core as long as they can keep them together.
Treliving Still Not Done
Now that the Mangiapane contract is settled, Treliving has to finalize the remainder of his roster going forward and he says he’s not done yet. It’s difficult to determine the context of this statement, as there are many options for how he could reshape the Flames roster.
There have been quite a few rumors revolving around the high-end forwards on the Flames, namely Gaudreau and Monahan for quite a while, but it’s unlikely that Treliving goes that route unless he plans on starting a full rebuild which would be fairly nonsensical for the team. The core is fairly young, and at this stage, they’re still contracted for a couple more years. With that being said, many of the prospects reaching the NHL level aren’t much younger than Gaudreau and Monahan. While three or four years is quite a long time in terms of hockey, it’s not long enough to constitute a full-blown rebuild.
There are a few options to look at if you’re going to try and clear up cap space, the most obvious (but difficult) being Milan Lucic. However, a majority of teams, if not all of them, would require a sweetener thrown in with Lucic for minimal return. If Treliving does find a way to move that contract, then there are quite a few free agents still available who could take a similar role going forward. It’s difficult to predict what he’s going to do, but it certainly sounds like the best or possibly worst, depending on which route Treliving goes, is yet to come for the Flames this offseason.
Mangiapane’s contract is short with a low cap hit, yet has the potential to be a very good value contract for the next two years. It will take a lot of hard work going forward for him to continue improving, but if he can continue developing at the same rate or even if he can play at a consistent level then he’ll likely be a Flame for quite a few years to come. On top of that, with Treliving’s desire to do more this offseason, it’s very possible we see a very different looking team to start the season.