And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The number one Red Wings prospect as voted on by (most of) the intelligent writers here at the Wings Nation is…Anthony Mantha.
Anthony Mantha, the Red Wings 1st round pick in 2013, saw lots of success in his junior career. However, as soon as he turned pro, he’s been subject to scrutiny and criticism. Last year, it was his disappointing rookie season. This year, it was whether or not he should be in the Red Wings lineup. But, Mantha has the track record thus far to show us why he is the best in Detroit’s system.
Mantha had an excellent junior career, notching 260 points in just 189 games, including a 50 goal season in his draft year, and a CHL Player of the Year Award in his draft +1 year, while leading his team to a spot in the Memorial Cup, before losing in the semifinals. He also participated in the World Juniors for Team Canada in 2014 when the team finished fourth, while putting up 11 points in seven games, including a hat trick against Germany.
How I imagine Team Germany feels pic.twitter.com/7SwbUt5fRg
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) December 26, 2013
As mentioned before, he got some time to shine with the Red Wings, as he joined the team for 10 games down the playoff stretch. He played quite well, putting up two goals and an assist during that time. Both goals came on the power play as a result of doing an excellent job of being a net front presence. He had a 54.36% 5v5 CF%, and the 11th highest CF60 among forwards this season. Small sample size, but it’s a good sign of things to come.
A brief look at the numbers, and you can tell one thing for sure: Mantha likes to put up points. He’s produced everywhere he’s gone, which is a very good sign if you’re hoping he can do the same at the NHL level.
Despite his strong play, Mantha’s chances of making the roster are not good. While I believe he is better than a good chunk of the depth forwards that the Wings signed in free agency, Mantha would really have to impress Blashill in training camp to make the coach consider him over the “veteran presence” of Steve Ott and Drew Miller, no matter how terrible of an argument that is.
Which is a shame, because I think Mantha has already proven that he’s ready to take the next step, and be a consistent contributor to the team, or at least be given a shot to do so. He’s not like other prospects, where size is a concern, and he certainly has the pedigree to be given the chance, but Holland would rather take a “safe” bet to keep the playoff streak alive.
In the future, look for Mantha to be at the very least a top six forward. Perhaps he can turn into a top line power forward that drives the net and does the dirty work for the team. Regardless, he’ll be a very good forward in the future, part of the reason why he is our choice for the Red Wings best prospect.