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Will Flames Sign Mangiapane Before Arbitration This Week?

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All is quiet on the Calgary Flames front.

But with Andrew Mangiapane’s arbitration hearing set for Friday, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

The 35-goal scorer is the latest free agent anaconda squeezing Flames GM Brad Treliving this offseason. Treliving wasn’t able to lock up UFA Johnny Gaudreau. Matthew Tkachuk dictated his own trade out of town as a restricted free agent.

If Mangiapane and the Calgary Flames don’t settle on something in the next few days, we may be looking at doing this all over again next summer.

But even during the uncertainty of the Tkachuk situation a couple of weeks ago, Mangiapane’s agent Ritch Winter said during a radio interview with Sportsnet’s Eric Francis that his client was interested in staying long-term.

“Certainly Andrew feels very comfortable with the coaching staff. He likes the management team here. He likes the city. He’s had a good experience. He’s said to them he’s quite willing to stay on a longer-term deal,” Winter said on Sportsnet 960.

“Obviously, the dynamics have to be worked out in terms of finances and things, but he’s certainly accepted and proposed that he stay here longer term.”

It makes sense for the 26-year-old try to cash on a lengthy deal coming off a career year.

And the departure of two of the three Calgary Flames to score 40 or more goals last season would suggest Mangiapane has an opportunity for an even bigger role.

Will Mangiapane take risk and bet on bigger Flames season?

Considering what the popular winger has already done in relatively light minutes, he is likely just as comfortable letting things play out in arbitration and bank on another strong season that walks him right into UFA status.

“I personally am a risk-taker, so I always like the idea of betting on myself and taking the spoils that will come from that,” Winter said.

“That advice comes with some risk.”

The reward from waiting may be an even bigger paycheque if he builds on the 35-goal, 55-point 2021-22 season.

“It’s at least in the seven (million-dollar) range. Could it be in the eight range? Potentially,” Winter spitballed. “If he gets 40 or 45 (goals), it could climb to who knows where.”

But Winter said often it was about more than money and mentioned some of the risks – including career-ending injury from Mangiapane’s small stature and aggressive style.

Winter added money “probably won’t end up being the primary driver.”

But it likely is for the Calgary Flames, who also have defenceman Oliver Kylington’s contract headed to a hearing and would love to sign newcomers Jonathan Huberdeau to extensions.

Diminutive winger set for massive salary bump

Whether it comes via arbitration or an early agreement with the Flames, Mangiapane will get a hefty raise.

If the offer from the team isn’t what he’s hoping for, the question remains whether he bets on himself as he did in signing his two-year bridge deal worth $2.425 per season.

“Andrew, I can tell you, his objective is to score 40, 45 goals this year,” Winter said. “He believes it’s something that should be expected of him with more opportunity.”

As far as Calgary Flames line combinations go, Mangiapane could get a shot on the top trio alongside Elias Lindholm and Huberdeau. Or he could remain with Mikael Backlund and Blake Coleman, with that line having success late in the season and into the playoffs.

Maybe the extra minutes will come on the powerplay with special teams goal leader Tkachuk gone.

But more opportunity should be there and Mangiapane seems poised for a big season. He scored 35 while averaging 15:44 per game last season. That ranked 12th on the team and fifth among forwards.

The clock is ticking, and it will be interesting to see how this one plays out. Will the Flames go big on Mangiapane, their sixth-round pick at the 2015 NHL Draft? Or will Treliving play contract chicken and deal with it all next summer when more of their offensive leaders can seek their big payday elsewhere?

Greener pastures may await. But fans of Mangiapane hope the right amount of that same colour awaits him in Calgary this week.

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