Keeping pucks is usually reserved for milestone moments. First NHL goal. Hattricks. Overtime winners. For Calgary Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson, an interesting offer came from one of his teammates this week.
After Andersson scored his first goal of the season on Tuesday night in a big Calgary Flames win over the visiting Florida Panthers, his good friend and teammate Andrew Mangiapane ribbingly – and repeatedly – suggested he should have a souvenir.
“He kept telling me today and yesterday that he had the puck for me,” Andersson said via Zoom after Thursday’s practice.
The razzing of Rasmus never ends, at least when it comes to Mangiapane. The two have a long hockey history together. Teammates in major junior, they were drafted in the same year and grew up together as professionals starting out in AHL Stockton.
His teammate frequently teased Andersson as he went 0-for-55 in shots ahead of Tuesday’s marker. You’d think it would end after the goal, but it sounds like it only intensified afterward.
All in good fun.
Andersson a top-tier blueliner for Calgary Flames
And it’s not like Andersson has struggled. Outside of some stretches of inconsistency that all Flames defencemen have gone through at times this season, Andersson has been a top-tier blueliner.
Offensively, even without the goal, he was on pace for a career-high 39 points as a top powerplay quarterback. Externally, plus/minus may be a useless stat, but in comparison with his teammates, he’s in the team’s top five and a steep drop-off starts a couple of names down.
“I’ve been trying not to think about it too much,” Andersson said. “Now, we look for the next one.”
“It’s nice to get it out of the way and not to get chirped about it a lot.”
The chirper, Mangiapane, has been a significant piece of the Calgary Flames’ success this season, too. You can bet Andersson is giving him the gears about his lack of assists, and his wildly disproportionate success in scoring on the road versus at home.
The Flames’ leading goal-scorer this season has 18 markers (Matthew Tkachuk is closing in). Mangiapane has just one at home all year.
And then there’s that goal drought: six games to this point, with just one in his last 10 games. They’ll both look to add to their totals against the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday.
After Mangiapane’s next goal, don’t be surprised if Andersson returns the favour and offers to save the puck for him.