That was was went through my mind when I heard the Canucks had signed him to a 1-year, $525,000 1-way deal on July 1st. I know I'm not the only one. So now that the free agency madness has died down I figured I would do some digging to learn more about this big right winger. Unfortunately I had to drill pretty deep to find any water, so I'll share with you what I found.
-6'4" 225 pounds. 26 years old. Born in London Ontario.
-Drafted in the 7th round (207th overall) by the Buffalo Sabres in 2004.
-Back then, Hockey's Future said this about him: Mancari has prototype size, but is not a strong skater. While his effort and toughness are to be respected, the converted defenseman needs to take strides in order to be an NHL contributor on offense. If his offensive game does not continue to develop, there may still be a role for him as an NHL tough guy, given his size and strength.
"Converted defenceman"..well then we know he fits into the Canucks' scheme as a 2-way player. Not a bad thing.
-Mancari's AHL stats with the Rochester Americans and Portland Pirates are impressive. He averages about a point per game there. Mancari is a beast at the AHL level. He was an alternate captain with the Pirates. He put up a butt load of points. He apparently still holds the AHL record for the hardest recorded shot, which was 102.8 mph at the AHL Skills Competition in 2008. Last season he was 2nd on the Pirates' list in their 3 stars accomplishments, basically meaning he was a top 3 star of the game a lot last season. He was also an AHL First Team Allstar last season. So much more of Mancari's individual accomplishments can be found here at the Portland Pirates profile page.
-What Mancari told The Province after signing here: "Being up and down with Buffalo, I've played anywhere from fourth line to first line," said Mancari. "I'm 6-4, 225, I'm a big guy and I'm not afraid to use my size. I'm not afraid to defend my teammates, but at the same time I feel I can bring an offensive game to the NHL."
OK, here's where the "problems" start.
With a super hard shot and massive success in the AHL why didn't he stick with the Sabres team as a 26 year old? Since 2006-07 he has only played 36 games with Buffalo and recorded 3 goals and 13 points. He has been passed over by may Sabres prospects since. For that reasoning I have not been able to find a Sabres/Pirates person to interview yet. So I had to go to the HF Boards (Sabres edition) because I couldn't find anything else to look for answers. So allow me to quote some of the things I found there and any Sabres / Pirates fans are free to intervene in the comments...
If Mancari is going to stick in the NHL, he's going to have to do it as a bottom-6 forward who uses his size to his advantage. He's a big man who doesn't always play big. He'll need to change that. If he keeps his head down and closes this season well, and possibly performs well in a late-season call-up, I could see the team considering giving him a one-way league minimum deal to be a 13th/14th forward. I think a good playoff run with the Pirates could enhance that opportunity.
He has some touch with the puck, that big shot, and a good sized frame. If he has, as it seems, adjusted his attitude about how to make the team and shows more willingness to impose his size on his next recall.
Mark Mancair has in fact "NEVER" been given the opportunity to prove himself with the big club the way other prospects have. Like all of the prospects, he should be given a minimum 20 game run to see if he adjusts.
All this talk of him being a career AHL'er is pure nonsense and opinionated based. It has no foundation to stand on given the very "FACT" that he has not been given the opportunity like other prospects have.
He's another Jody Gage. A one dimensional player that hasn't been able to bring that dimension to the NHL. If he's not scoring goals he doesn't do anything else well enough to hold a roster spot. He didn't show any change during his last recall. He didn't get the call over Ellis/Byron because the Sabres saw what he can do and it's clearly not enough.
Mancari has Jody Gage syndrome in a bad way. Despite dominating the AHL he never shows much when he gets called up. So he never gets called up anymore. It's gotten so bad that he couldn't get a nod over 144-lb. Paul Byron or known quantity Matt Ellis when 3 Sabre forwards went out with injuries. Mancari responded to the snub by putting up his second hast trick in two games.
I would still like to the Sabres extend the same patience to Mancari as they did Gerbe, who showed little promise until things seemed to finally click last week. Mancari has only seen very spotty NHL action. He has shown that he deserves a real chance, but then again I'm no pro hockey scout so maybe there's something about his game that is holding him back.
Mancari hasn't been called up much because there hasn't been really any reason to call him up. Indeed injuries have happened this year, but the organization needs to see how other prospects are faring in their development. They know how Mancari is faring because when they call him up he plays the same way; and that is uninspired hockey with a body frame that could be used for so many constructive hockey plays.
Not really leaving you with positive thoughts is it?
Anyway what has me wondering is that Mike Gillis signed Mancari to a 1-way deal worth $525,000. 1-way. So he goes to training camp and what if he fails to impress? Waivers? Bah it's too late at night to think about this. For all we know he could become cannon fodder in a trade as well.
On a deep Canucks team it's going to be difficult for Mancari to crack the roster. If he does he's a Tanner Glass / Rick Rypien replacement with a better shot, which isn't all that difficult (sorry Tanner). But hey...you never know. It's another gamble of sorts by Mike Gillis and I generally like his gambles.Maybe he'll get a bigger shot here regardless. I don't know.
Video? It did kill the radio star after all.
Mancari breaks the AHL record for hardest shot:
Mancari's first NHL goal: