Flames trade analysis: Andrew Mangiapane dealt to Capitals for draft pick

The Flames’ focus is now squarely on building towards a better future

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It’s all about the future for the Calgary Flames.

Barely a week after he traded away starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Flames GM Craig Conroy pulled off another major deal on Thursday evening when he sent longtime winger Andrew Mangiapane to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.

It’s not a move that makes the Flames any better this coming season. Objectively speaking, it makes them worse.

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But the Flames weren’t going to be contending next year anyway and the focus is now squarely on building towards a better future. If that meant sending a fan favourite away to clear cap space and get more draft capital, so be it.

Here’s what to know about the trade:

What the Flames gave up

Mangiapane has unequivocally been a success story for the Flames organization. Drafted in the sixth round in 2015, the 5-foot-10 winger from just outside of Toronto would go on to play 417 games in the NHL for the Flames, scoring 109 goals and picking up 106 assists along the way. He arguably peaked in 2021-22 when he started the season firing on all cylinders and went on to score 35 goals, but he was always effective when paired with Mikael Backlund and continued being productive right until the end.

He had one year left on the three-year deal he signed in 2022 and was set to get paid $5.8 million next season and likely just didn’t fit in with the Flames’ timeline for re-emerging as contenders. Mangiapane gave everything he had to the Flames and will be missed, but these are the hard decisions that need to be made.

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What they got back

A second-round pick in the 2025 Draft. That’s the big piece, although the additional cap space that the move affords the Flames is nothing to sneeze at, either. Conroy managed to pull off the deal without any salary retention, which gives the Flames nearly $30 million in cap space for 2024-25.

The Flames have loaded up on draft picks as they shipped away veterans over the past year and will now have two first-round selections and two more in the second round at next year’s NHL Draft.

What it tells us

The debate over whether the Flames are rebuilding or retooling has always been a bit silly. What we know now, though, is that winning in 2024-25 is not the priority for the Flames. It’s the future that counts, and clearing valuable cap space and picking up yet another draft pick is going to help with that.

After shipping out Jacob Markstrom last week — and Elias Lindholm, Nikita Zadorov, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev and Tyler Toffoli in the last year — Conroy has largely dismantled the Flames’ veteran core. He’s now armed with a tonne of picks with which he can start building for the future. Next season might be a long one around the Saddledome, but ownership has clearly empowered the Flames’ GM to prioritize building an actual contender a few years from now.

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