Flames' Mangiapane shakes off key departures: 'Didn't lose our whole team'
Despite losing Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames forward Andrew Mangiapane doesn't want to hear any excuses next season.
"I think our whole team needs to be maybe 10% better and just grow and build off the season that we had last year," Mangiapane said, according to Postmedia's Wes Gilbertson. "Yeah, we lost two good players, but we didn't lose our whole team.
"I think the majority of guys are still here, and the majority of guys that were here were successful because of who they are. I feel if everyone is putting in the work and growing, this could be a very special year for us."
Like most of the Flames, Mangiapane enjoyed a dominant 2021-22 campaign with a career-high 35 goals and 55 points in 82 contests. Calgary rewarded Mangiapane for his production by signing the restricted free-agent winger to a three-year pact worth $17.4 million on Tuesday.
Perhaps most astonishingly, Mangiapane filled the net at an impressive rate while averaging just 15:44 of ice time per contest. Among players to score at least 30 goals this past season, Mangiapane saw the second-lowest playing time, ahead of just Florida Panthers forward Anthony Duclair.
Now, the 26-year-old is ready and willing to step into an increased role in the absence of Gaudreau and Tkachuk.
"When two big names at forward both leave, there's room for players to step up, and that includes me," he said, per NHL.com's Ryan Dittrick. "That includes some other players as well. There's room there, there's opportunity, and now it's up to us to fill their spot and continue our own growth, too."
Mangiapane won't have to fill in the gap alone, though. The Flames acquired star winger Jonathan Huberdeau from the Panthers as part of the trade package for Tkachuk, and he tallied 115 points in 2021-22.
Selected by the Flames in the sixth round of the 2015 draft, Mangiapane has 132 points in 260 career contests.
Calgary took the top spot in the Pacific Division after posting a record of 50-21-11. The Flames seemed poised for a deep playoff run, but the Edmonton Oilers bounced them in the second round.