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TALKING POINTS: Could Flames’ Mangiapane do more with extra ice time?

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Calgary Flames Andrew Mangiapane

The game was already locked up, but Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane wasn’t going to miss out on a chance to score another goal.

The little winger with the massive work ethic also happens to have a huge skillset. With less than five seconds to play in what was a 4-1 game, Mangiapane pounced on the puck as it pinballed straight back off the end boards and quickly converted it into the Rangers net.

The slap pass from Rasmus Andersson at the end of a 5-1 Flames win over the Rangers isn’t the kind everyone can handle.

“He’s really good around the net. I think he’s got a great work ethic. He’s got good hands,” said Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. “The play at the end comes off the boards, a lot of guys aren’t going to make that play. They’re going to fan on it or not get it.

“He’s a pretty good package for us.”

As far as Sutter compliments go, that’s a big one.

But will he reward the former sixth-round pick with more ice time?

Mangiapane one of the NHL’s best at scoring impact in minutes played

So far this season, the 5-foot-10, 184-lb. winger is making the most of what he gets. He’s among the NHL’s top 10 goal-scorers at five-on-five per 60 minutes of ice time. With an on-ice shooting percentage of just 8.6, by far the lowest and most sustainable on the G/60 list, Mangiapane will likely climb the ranks as the sample size grows and some of the other numbers return to the average.

Oh, and Mangiapane has also got two of the Flames’ three powerplay goals so far this season.

If you look at his finish to last season with the Calgary Flames, his incredible international performance with Team Canada as MVP of the World Championship, and the shot-from-a-cannon start this year, it’s clear Mangiapane has found his way in the NHL. He’s got 10 goals in his last nine games for the Flames and had seven in seven wedged in between last June in Latvia.

Tying last season and this season together, Mangiapane has an impressive road streak going.

All this while the Calgary Flames deploy him at 11:51 of average even-strength ice time per game – tied with linemate Dillon Dube for the third lowest among the team’s forwards. Only Brett Ritchie and Milan Lucic are averaging less so far. But because he’s an important part of both special teams units, Mangiapane does rank 12th in total ice time per game, regardless of position, and seventh among all forwards (not far behind PP1 forward Sean Monahan).

Perhaps he won’t be able to log more even-strength minutes, but the Flames could take advantage of Mangiapane’s hot streak by supplanting Monahan on the top powerplay.

Confidence growing with every game, he’s a bargain for the Calgary Flames

Showing the world what the NHL’s ‘other’ Bread Man can do, Mangiapane’s first of two goals on Monday was a gift of a turnover in the circle. He just spun, sized up his lane and ripped a shot past goaltender Igor Shesterkin – who last week stopped all eight of Auston Matthews’ shots in the Leafs star’s season debut.

Mangiapane is a pending restricted free agent in the last season of a two-year deal that’s paying him $2.425 million this year. He’s worth every penny, but it looks like the Flames will have to offer him a pretty hefty raise to lock him up this summer.

“I think just every game that I’m playing now, confidence is growing,” shrugged Mangiapane after the win in New York. “I think maybe when I first came into the league, I was a little shy maybe to make a play. Maybe play it safe, chip it in or do something. But now I’m just trying to play my game, play with confidence.

“I think you have to play with confidence in this league and right now pucks are just going in for me.”
Indeed, they are.

We should probably get used to it.

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