For the second consecutive season Val-d’Or Foreurs’ forward Anthony Mantha has hit the fifty goal plateau. And this time around it only took him 48 games to accomplish the feat.
Detroit’s 20th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft leads all Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scorers with 52 goals, 56 assists, and 108 points this season. The Red Wings signed Mantha to a 3-year entry-level-contract in October and their expectations are on the rise as he continues his assault on the Canadian Hockey League.
World Junior Experience
Mantha played a pivotal role for Canada in the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships. He netted a hat trick versus Germany and his game winning penalty shot tally catapulted Canada into the quarterfinals.
Canada has a long lineage of World Junior stars who morphed into NHL studs. And the Detroit Red Wings are holding out hope that Mantha will be a direct descendant of this superstar bearing bloodline.
For Wings fans, the biggest take away from this tournament is that Mantha had the opportunity to challenge himself against the best under 20 hockey players from across the globe. Even more encouraging is the fact that under junior hockey’s brightest lights he passed with flying colours.
Anthony Mantha’s Size An Asset
At 6’5 and 205lbs the 19-year-old the Longueil Quebec native is still growing, and that’s exciting news for a Red Wing team short on big bodies up front…no pun intended . Currently, the Wings have 8 forwards on their roster below 6 feet tall so needless to say size is an obvious organizational need.
However, one knock on Mantha is that he doesn’t use his size enough. In his pre-draft analysis of Mantha last spring one scout said this of Mantha:
He does not play physically, something that often shocks you when you go to watch him play. He’s got good size, but he’s a bit gangly and needs to work on his lower body strength.
Although Mantha might be a bit of a poindexter right now the fact is he’s still a young player. Eventually he is going to get on the leg press, bulk up, and fill out his gangly frame.
Detroit has plenty of young, speedy, skilled forwards in the system with the likes of: Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Teemu Pulkkinen, and Tomas Jurco in the fold for years to come. Yet, in Mantha the Wings appear to have found that player with the rare combination of size and skill.
Granted he may never be the type of player who is going to run opposing d-men through the end boards; however if Anthony Mantha can use his size and strength to protect the puck like a Rick Nash then the Wings are in business. He’s got a long way to go to reach that type of status, but sniping 50 in back to back CHL seasons isn’t a bad start.
Growing up in London Ontario I only had 2 choices: Wings or Leafs. Fortunately, with a little strong arming from my Dad I made the right choice and have been a Wing Nut ever since. My loyalty has never wavered through the good times and bad… even after enduring plenty of ridicule at school because of Borschevsky’s goal in ’93. My favorite time of year is early spring when playoff hockey begins, playoff beards are sprouted, and the dream of Detroit hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup presents itself one more time.