Almost 30 minutes after Monday’s trade deadline had passed, NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes dropped an absolute bomb:
In all, the Detroit Red Wings acquired Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first-round pick, and a 2022 second-round pick from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Anthony Mantha, their 2013 first-round pick.
The Red Wings confirmed the trade shortly after Weekes’ tweet:
Anthony Mantha’s Impact
When healthy, Mantha has been Detroit’s most dangerous player. The 6-foot-5 winger has a lethal release and is most effective when playing with an edge. Through 42 games, Mantha has 11 goals and 21 points – tied with Dylan Larkin for most points among Detroit’s forwards.
But with the Red Wings rebuilding, there has been speculation that Mantha could be on the move. The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta previously mentioned that Los Angeles could be interested, but it was ultimately the Capitals who acquired Mantha’s services.
In Washington, Mantha should fit right in with the Capitals’ top-six. He can play either wing, but likely slots in on the second line and second power play unit. With Mantha and Tom Wilson, the Capitals have a goal-scoring power forward on both of their top two lines.
Red Wings Continue to Stockpile Picks & Prospects
After acquiring Vrana, Panik, and the two draft picks for Mantha, the Red Wings now have 12 selections in this year’s draft and another 10 next year. As the team continues to rebuild under Steve Yzerman’s watch, draft picks have become a hot commodity.
Over the past two years, the Red Wings have drafted 33 players. That number will be at least 55 by the end of the 2022 draft. That’s impressive draft pick hoarding by Yzerman.
However, the players coming back to Detroit shouldn’t be ignored. Jakub Vrana is a legitimate top-six forward with incredible offensive touch.
The 25-year-old Czech winger has 11 goals and 25 points this season. Panik scored three times in 36 games and was recently put on waivers by the Capitals. That said, Panik is an adequate replacement for Bobby Ryan and Sam Gagner, should the Red Wings decide against re-signing the two pending free agents this offseason.
Capitals Not Done, Add Michael Raffl
In addition to Mantha, the Capitals also acquired forward Michael Raffl from the Philadelphia Flyers. The cost: Washington’s fifth-round pick in 2021.
The 32-year-old produced eight points in 32 games for the Flyers this season. Raffl can play all three forward positions and contribute on the penalty kill.
Arguably, substituting Vrana and Panik for Mantha and Ryan—who is out for the season with an upper-body injury—is a lateral move for Detroit. The draft picks are a bonus.
As for the Capitals, they have a highly talented top-six winger in Mantha who brings more physicality to the table than either Vrana or Panik. Raffl joins Washington’s bottom-six, which is looking remarkably deep heading into the playoffs.
Stats courtesy of NHL.com.
Tony Wolak is based in the Washington D.C. area and covers the Detroit Red Wings for THW. As a former junior and college hockey player, Tony has a unique perspective on Red Wings topics.