Anyone else bored of the “size” debate in hockey?
Of course you are. Marc Savard, Martin St. Louis and Tyler Johnson have all made great impacts in the NHL over the past ten years despite still being mistaken for a kid at every restaurant.
A year ago, Andrew Mangiapane was forgotten by NHL scouts at the draft table. This year, that’s not going to happen.
Mangiapane, 19, is a 5’10 scoring star with the Barrie Colts that for the most part went unknown for the past few seasons. Back in 2011-2012, Mangiapane played his Minor Midget season with the Mississauga Senators, finishing first in team scoring with 39 points in 46 games. Mangiapane’s season with the club wasn’t too great in comparison to the rest of the league which saw him finish just 20th in GTHL scoring while playing on a weak team with Mississauga.
Going undrafted in the OHL, Mangiapane made the trek over to the Toronto Junior Canadiens for his Major Midget season in 2012-2013. The Bolton, Ont. youngster made sure to keep up his strong play once again, leading the team with 27 points in 24 games for a team that struggled once the playoffs got rolling. His performance was good enough for ninth in league scoring, featuring some current Junior A stars such as Joey Molinaro, Anthony Sorrentino, Thomas Lattavo and Christopher Sekelyk.
Unlike some of his peers in Major Midget, Mangiapane would make the jump to the Ontario Hockey League after impressing the Barrie Colts enough to sign him prior to the 2012-2013 season. After shining at rookie camp, Mangiapane finished the season third in OHL rookie scoring, posting 51 points in 68 games to trail just Travis Konecny and Mitch Marner for freshmen and even went on to beat Dylan Strome by 12 points.
Mangiapane’s real coming out party came in his second OHL season in 2014-2015. Playing with the likes of Joseph Blandisi and Kevin Labanc on Barrie’s first line, the trio helped Barrie finished first in the Central Division this year, eventually losing out to the North Bay Battalion in the second round. Mangiapane’s 104 points were good for third on the team and eighth in the entire league, leading Barrie with an estimated point per 60 rating of 3.52 according to CHL Stats. The end of the season for Mangiapane was where he really took control, scoring 21 points in the final nine games of his sophomore campaign.
While rather small, Mangiapane is a pure energy guy that will use his speed and tenacity to beat out some stronger players in a puck battle. When he gets the puck, he’s a magician with his hands and strives to make you look bad in front of your own net. A member of the 2013-14 OHL First All-Rookie Team, Mangiapane is a total 200-foot player and his quickness makes him dangerous when taking the puck away from an unsuspecting player. He’s worked hard to play very strongly against some of the oppositions best players, something that he didn’t have much of a chance to do during his rookie season.
His wrist shot is electric. He can be at any angle, have a guy or two trying to take him down and somehow, he’ll still find a way to put the puck into the back of the net with an absolute snipe. You can put him on the ice on the penalty kill too, a role that has really suited his style. He isn’t afraid to get into the dirty areas if he has too, and considering he put up 16 power-play goals this year, there’s no doubting his ability when you take a player off the ice.
Mangiapane doesn’t use his size as an excuse for any troubles he has on the ice, and he shouldn’t. He proved himself to be a very serviceable winger in the OHL this past year, and if he continues on with his solid development track, he could turn into a serviceable scoring third liner. Instead of potentially using a seventh round pick on him last year, teams letting him slide past the third or fourth round will be making a huge mistake. In PBR’s Seven Round Mock Draft, Mangiapane found himself selected 120th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team famous for their short scoring stars. Will Mangiapane be the next Florida resident to ignore the size narrative? No matter where he goes, he’ll be a steal later in the draft, making every other team wish they took a chance on him instead.
Steven is a junior hockey reporter for the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, and also focuses on international hockey for his website, TheHockeyHouse.net. You can follow Steven on twitter @StevenEllisNHL.
Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.