Looking to take a step forward following a disastrous 2019-20 campaign, the Detroit Red Wings have been one of the most active teams across the entire league this offseason and have worked tirelessly to keep their young core together as the team looks to advance into the next stage of its rebuilding process.
After agreeing to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with forward Tyler Bertuzzi last week, general manager Steve Yzerman didn’t waste any time locking up another one of the Red Wings’ top young forwards, as the club announced a new four-year, $22.8 million contract extension with teammate Anthony Mantha – making him the second-highest paid player on the team.
The #RedWings today signed right wing Anthony Mantha to a four-year contract.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) November 3, 2020
While this proved to be a long process, the 6-foot-5 forward is just extremely happy to finally have the business side of hockey completed and he can’t wait for hockey to resume in North America this winter. Once the 2020-21 campaign opens, which is expected to occur sometime in January, the 26-year old admitted one of his biggest goals is to finally hit the 30-goal threshold and is confident he’ll be able to accomplish that feat next season.
“This season is kind of up in the air, but usually everyone talks about that magic 30 and I think it’s something that’s reachable for me in the real near future and that’s the goal I’m set on right now,” Mantha discussed.
Since Mantha has participated in fewer than 70 games in four of his first five seasons in the league, the left-hander hasn’t been able to showcase his talents over an extended period of time, which has prevented him from scoring more than 25 goals in a single season. But if he stays healthy in 2020-21, the former first-round pick is hopeful he’ll be able to create more goals off rebounds and on the power play as well.
“Just right now we’re kind of practicing all those extra little rebound goals, just around the net – get maybe three, four more like that – and then on the power play, it’s not been great over the past couple years for our team,” Mantha explained. “So, if we could get better on the power play, obviously, it’s going to bring a lot more goals.”
Over his 43 games during this past season, Mantha generated career-highs in average ice time (18:54 minutes), points per game (0.88), goals created per game (0.33), and also tied his highest goals per game (0.37) metric. Additionally, the Quebec native also recorded 16 goals, 38 points, 137 shots on net, 49 hits, 25 blocks, and 22 takeaways.
Whenever the Red Wings hit the ice next season, Mantha will be joined by a few new players, including forwards Bobby Ryan and Vladislav Namestnikov. While there’ll likely be an adjustment period for those skaters, the emerging star was able to work with each of them over the summer and feels they’ll both be able to make an impact during their inaugural campaigns at Little Caesars Arena.
“We know Bobby [Ryan] can shoot the puck, obviously, he’s been around for a long time and we know what he’s capable of,” Mantha detailed. “Just since summer practice [Vladislav] Namestnikov, he just keeps the puck and he likes to control it, and I think in Detroit we’re not having enough players that keeps the puck like he does. So, hopefully they could have a big impact for us in the near future.”