Pre-draft: Mark Mancari, a defenseman turned forward for the Ottawa 67’s, had a breakout year. After totaling just 25 points in his first two seasons, the 6’3, 225-pound London, Ontario native more than tripled his previous career highs by notching 65 points in his third campaign in the Canadian capital. Much of Mancari’s progress and increased confidence can be attributed to a move made by coach Brian Kilrea, who placed the winger on a line with scoring phenom Corey Locke in late December. As a benefactor of some fine playmaking from his new linemate, Mancari finished the year with 29 goals. Blossoming in a seven game playoff loss to Brampton, the gritty winger scored six key points in the first two games, finishing with eight points for the series. After being passed over in the 2003 draft, Mancari was rewarded for his fine play a year later by being scooped up by Buffalo in the 7th round (207th overall) in 2004.
2004-05: Playing for the Ottawa 67’s (OHL), he was the winner of the team’s Brian Kilrea Award for community involvement and was also honored as the Booster Club’s Best Two-Way Player. He ended his four-year OHL career with his best season, racking up 36 goals and 32 assists in 64 games. He finished tied for ninth in the OHL in goals and led his team in playoff scoring with 14 goals and 10 assists in 21 games.
2005-06: Mancari appeared in 71 games for Rochester (AHL), finishing fifth on the team with 42 points in his rookie season. He recorded two assists in his professional debut on Oct. 21, and scored his first pro goal on Nov. 4 against Cleveland. He recorded his first professional hat trick on Apr. 8.
2006-07: Appearing in 64 games for Rochester (AHL), Mancari had a six-game point streak from Jan. 6 to 19. He was recalled from Rochester on Feb. 22 but did not play. He ranked third on the team with 57 points.
2007-08: Playing as Rochester’s (AHL) alternate captain, Mancari notched three assists against Grand Rapids on Nov. 2, earning himself second star honors along the way. He had a four-game assist streak from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2. He tallied three points to earn first star honors against Manchester on Nov. 30. He registered three points against Hamilton on Jan. 12 to earn second star honors, a game that would start a three-game point streak ending on Jan. 16. Mancari was selected to play for the Canadian All-Stars for the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic. He set a new AHL record with hardest shot of 102.8 mph at the Skills Competition. He had a five-game point streak from Mar. 30 to Apr. 11. He finished the regular season first on the team in points (51), tied for first in goals (21) and was the only player to appear in all 80 games.
Talent AnalysisMancari 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.