Anthony Mantha Blossoming for the Detroit Red Wings

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Anthony Mantha
RALEIGH, NC - March 27: Detroit Red Wings Left Wing Anthony Mantha (39) skates with the puck in a game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Carolina Hurricanes on March 27, 2017 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. Detroit defeated Carolina 4 - 3 in OT. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Anthony Mantha is blossoming for the Detroit Red Wings. Four years post-draft a team usually gets a good idea of who a player is going to be. After being taken 20th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Mantha is entering a crucial stage in his career. He scored 120 points with the Val-d’Or Foreurs in 2013-14. Many fans were excited to see Detroit have a strong, big, highly skilled forward with a knack for scoring. It appears that Mantha is blossoming for the Red Wings this season.

Anthony Mantha Blossoming for the Detroit Red Wings

Mantha had his first taste of professional hockey in 2014-15 with the Grand Rapids Griffins and struggled slightly, only putting up 33 points in his 62 games. He struggled to stay out of the penalty box, accumulating 64 penalty minutes in those 62 games played. He showed marked improvement in his second season in the AHL. Mantha increased his production, upping his point total to 45. Mantha would also earn his first stint with the Red Wings. He put up three points in his ten-game stint with Detroit.

After that relative success, many expected him to get a chance full time with Red Wings. He instead found himself back in the AHL to start last season. He quickly showed that he was ready for the NHL full-time after putting up ten points in ten games. His first NHL season was up and down, as to be expected as a rookie. He showed the skill that made him a first-round pick, but also found himself in the doghouse of Jeff Blashill. Blashill often thought that he didn’t always play a solid two-way game.

Mantha benefited greatly from the opportunity to play much of last season on a line with Henrik Zetterberg who was by far the best player for Detroit last season. Zetterberg mentored Mantha, and he learned to be more disciplined. He had 53 PIM in his 60 games with the Red Wings, but that number is inflated by multiple fighting majors that he accumulated, including one that broke his hand in March against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This Season and Beyond

Anthony Mantha started this season on a wing with Zetterberg centering and Gustav Nyquist. He started the season well but was not given much time on this line. Jeff Blashill has shown a tendency to shake up his lines often. Mantha is now getting the chance to play with his former Griffins teammates Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. He provides size and strength. This compliments the speed and skill of the other two. So far this season he has seven goals and six assists for 13 points through 16 games. That would put him on pace for a 66-point season, which would have lead the team last season. If he is given the chance to build a rapport with linemates over a full season, he could be the first 40-goal Red Wing since Marian Hossa in 2008-09.

 

Main Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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