SB Nation's Mock NHL Draft started off with a bang as the contingent from Mile High Hockey matched their organization's promise and passed on taking Seth Jones at #1 overall. In fact, Jones ended up falling to Tampa Bay as Litter Box Cats took Jonathan Drouin.
Here's the list of picks as they've fallen so far:
- Colorado: Nathan MacKinnon
- Florida: Jonathan Drouin
- Tampa Bay: Seth Jones
- Nashville: Aleksander Barkov
- Carolina: Valeri Nichushkin
- Calgary: Sean Monahan
- Edmonton: Elias Lindholm
- Buffalo: Darnell Nurse
- New Jersey: Hunter Shinkaruk
- Dallas: Rasmus Ristolainen
- Philadelphia: Mirco Mueller
- Phoenix: Bo Horvat
- Winnipeg: Kerby Rychel
- Columbus: Max Domi
- NY Islanders: Alexander Wennberg
- Buffalo: Frederik Gauthier
- Ottawa: Ryan Pulock
As the draft went on, I reached out to Michael Petrella from The Production Line for his thoughts, since there were still several people available whom he had predicted in his Draft Preview that would have already been gone when he predicted Robert Hagg going 18th. When all was said and done, we ended up taking forward Anthony Mantha from Val-d'or of the QMJHL.
Forward / Val-d'or
Sep 16, 1994
|2012 - Anthony Mantha||50||39||89||21||71|
Mantha missed out on the 2012 draft by virtue of being born one day behind the cutoff. The extra year he got in juniors before becoming draft eligible couldn't have worked out better for the kid, as he tore through last season scoring 50 goals in 67 games. He's listed as the #10 North American skater in the Central Scouting Rankings currently and is the grandson of four-time cup-winner André Pronovost (making him also the grand-nephew of Marcel Pronovost).
To answer the most-pressing question about him, Mantha is a big-bodied goal-scorer. He's a developing power forward who goes to dirty areas and doesn't hesitate to shoot. Here's what Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau had to say about him:
He's a big kid with a lot of skill. He has everything you need to succeed -- he can skate, he's smart, he reads the play, he has everything. He might need to work on his defensive game, but he can be taught that. You can't teach talent like he has, or hands like he has.
Of course, if he had all the pieces together, he wouldn't be available at #18. The first knock against Mantha is that he's really only had one great season which may not be quite so repeatable. Aside from that, there have been questions about Mantha's "compete level" at times. He's not known for his two-way game and has sometimes been accused of floating when away from the puck.
Five SB Nation sites have profiled Mantha.
In Lou We Trust has a collection of opinions on him and even video of him in action.
Five for Howling points out comparisons to Milan Michalek and Max Pacioretty while discussing where he might fit on the team that a few people think will take him (including Petrella).
The Cannon calls taking him with one of their three picks a bit of a gamble, but marvels at his potential.
Lighthouse Hockey collects snippets from just about everywhere on him.
Copper & Blue, in their comparables series takes a deep statistical look into previous drafts to see where players like Mantha ended up. There's some good names on this list, including Jordan Eberle, Todd Bertuzzi, and Jarome Iginla (there's also a lot of busts, but you'll find that tends to happen.)
So why did we take him?
Looking at the Red Wings' organizational needs, a sizable scoring winger is a big gap in the development program. While Tomas Jurco is learning to use his size, he's still more of a playmaker. The Wings have 2011 4th-rounder Marek Tvrdon who may make that step, as well as a few others (Nestrasil, Bodin, Aubry), they don't really have a standout in that position where they have a need.
A kid like this could prevent another Samuelsson-type signing and that's got to be a good thing. What do you think, Wings fans?