As it stands, Andrew Mangiapane will head into this offseason as a restricted free agent.
His agent hopes he strolls into next summer unrestricted.
Speaking on The Eric Francis Show on Sportsnet 960 on Monday, Rich Winter — Mangiapane’s agent — suggested the advice he’d present to his client is to explore the open market in 19 months.
“Well, I think more than anything if I was to sum it up in one word, I would suggest patience,” Winter told Francis. “There’s an awful lot of variables going on around him. Like is Johnny staying? Is Chucky staying? What’s happening around you on the team? But more importantly, what other opportunities are there out there? You’re a year away from being an unrestricted free agent at 27 years of age, really in the heart of the best-producing years of your career.
“My advice to him would be let’s do a short-term deal, by way of arbitration or negotiation…negotiation ideally…and then let’s wait and take a look at the landscape, because as a young player you want to be the best you can be, you want to be challenged in Stanley Cup type environments.”
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The Flames, and general manager Brad Treliving, have a lot to sort out this summer.
Franchise cornerstone Johnny Gaudreau is set to become an unrestricted free agent after he’ll complete a six year, $40.5 million contract this July. Matthew Tkachuk is a pending restricted free agent this summer and could accept his one-year, $9 million qualifying offer after wrapping a three-year, $27 million deal at the conclusion of the season.
Each has 15 goals this season.
Mangiapane, who was named tournament MVP at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championship last spring, has 18 goals despite playing two fewer minutes per game than the pair.
He’s averaging 1.50 goals per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5. Only 11 players in the entire league are scoring at a higher pace per hour this season.
“In my view, Andrew will be, over the course of the next three years, among the top five forwards in the game,” Winter said. “I really think there’s a lot of evidence to support that, because what’s surprising is that Andrew is accomplishing this, and scoring at this rate, while playing three and four minutes less than the other players, which only tells you those players are playing with the best players on their teams.
“And, of course, Andrew by playing 13, 14 minutes a night is not playing with the best forwards in the Calgary Flames, and I think there’s good reason for that.”
— NHL (@NHL) October 26, 2021
Mangiapane, who turns 26 in April, is one of Calgary’s best when it comes to elevating the play of those around him, according to a host of metrics.
“It’s astonishing how effective he is, like a lot of elite players, in elevating the games of all the people around him,” Winter said. “I suspect, to a degree, that’s why Darryl uses him on the second power-play unit instead of the first, because he’s the best on this team statistically for elevating the play of those around him.
“It’s not a surprise that Darryl would use him on the second or third line for the same reason. So, in many respects, as frustrating as it is at times to not get the kind ice time your production suggests you should get, it’s just a backhanded compliment because you’re more valuable than just the goals you bring to the table.”
A one-year contract this summer would set up the potential for Mangiapane to take an unrestricted peek at offers around the league.
A longer-term pact would keep him in Calgary beyond next season.
“My suggestion would be let’s do as good a deal, a reasonable deal, as we can with the Calgary Flames, and then you should simply wait and see what the options are, because at 27 years of age, if he continues to play at the level he is, there’ll be a lot of them,” Winter said.
“And I think there’s nothing more valuable in a player’s career than his ability to look into free agency and see what the options are.
“I’d highly recommend that he focus on that.”