The Detroit Red Wings have signed restricted-free agent Anthony Mantha to a four-year deal, carrying a cap hit of $5.7 million per year.
After he was drafted by the Red Wings 20th overall back in 2013, Mantha has worked to become a key part of the franchises’ future. Despite missing some games due to injury in his first full seasons, he has posted 20-plus goals twice and was on pace to score at least that many again in 2019-20 before the pause.
Mantha Signing Shows Bright Future for Red Wings
By all accounts, the 2019-20 season was a miserable one for Detroit. Not only were they the worst team in the NHL by a wide margin, but they also missed out on the first overall pick at the draft.
Despite these struggles, the Red Wings’ offseason has been one of reasonable success. First, they leveraged their wealth of picks at the draft to select what can only be described as a ‘Steve Yzerman Class,’ filled with top-end talent and potential franchise faces if everything goes right.
Then, Yzerman was smart but aggressive in free-agency, using his available cap-space to sign low-risk, high reward veterans like Vladislav Namestnikov and Bobby Ryan. These short-term deals will strengthen their line up for 2020-21 without tying up valuable cap space needed to sign their young core in the coming years.
Finally, as a part of that young core, locking up Mantha to this deal as he is hitting his prime is the absolutely perfect move. If he continues to grow his game and stay healthy, he will be a consistent top-six scoring forward who can post 20-goal, 50-point seasons while being a locker room leader off the ice.
So, while they may not be ready to compete for a Stanley Cup in 2021, the Red Wings’ future is far more certain after locking down a player like Mantha to a smart, four-year contract.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.