DETROIT, Mich — Red Wings rookie winger Anthony Mantha has been named the team’s rookie of the year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.
Mantha, 22 years old, posted 36 points (17-19-36) in 60 games in his first season. The former first-rounder out of Longueuil, Quebec was one of the few bright spots in a flat season for the team as a whole. Unfortunately for him, he suffered an injury late in the season which prevented him from a strong finish. The good news is that his impressive play has locked him into the NHL for good, as the team opted to not reassign him to the Grand Rapids Griffins for their push in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Mantha established himself as a top-six power-winger, and a no-doubt cornerstone piece to the future of the team.
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Mantha began the 2016-17 campaign with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, racking up eight goals among his 10 points (8-2-10) in 10 games before he was recalled to the Red Wings for the remainder of the season. The 22-year-old skated in 60 games for Detroit, notching 36 points (17-19-36) and 53 penalty minutes. Mantha ranked among Red Wings leaders with 17 goals (T3rd), 19 assists (7th), 36 points (7th), a plus-10 rating (2nd) and three game-winning goals (2nd). His most productive stretch of the season involved a six-game point streak from Dec. 17-Jan. 1, totaling nine points (5-4-9) over that span, which was capped off by his first two-goal and three-point game during the NHL’s Centennial Classic between the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at BMO Field in Toronto on Jan. 1. Including his 10-game stint with Detroit late in the 2015-16 season, Mantha has totaled 39 points (19-20-39) and 55 penalty minutes in 70 NHL games.
“It means a lot to me to receive this award, and I’d like to thank the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association for the recognition,” said Mantha. “Playing in the NHL is a dream come true, and it was a thrill to play in the final season at Joe Louis Arena. I learned a lot this season, and I’m looking forward to getting started again and building off this season in 2017-18.”
The Red Wings’ first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft finished 12th in NHL rookie scoring overall, and his team-leading two overtime goals placed first among league rookies. Between the date of his season debut (Nov. 12) and his season-ending injury (March 30), Mantha’s 17 goals trailed only four NHL rookies: two of the NHL’s three Calder Trophy nominees as rookie of the year in Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine, as well as Carolina’s Sebastian Aho and Toronto’s Connor Brown.
A 6-foot-5, 221-pound forward hailing from Longueuil, Quebec, Mantha registered 88 points (44-44-88), a plus-20 rating and 102 penalty minutes in 132 AHL games with the Griffins from 2014-17, prior to graduating to the NHL full-time. Mantha was a decorated scorer for the Val d’Or Foreurs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League between 2010-14 before joining the Griffins. He totaled 260 points (129-131-260), a plus-42 rating and 185 penalty minutes in 189 games with the club, capped off with a 120-point season (57-63-120) in just 57 games for the Foreurs in 2013-14 which led to Canadian Hockey Player of the Year honors. Mantha also added 38 points (24-14-38) in 24 postseason games to lead the team to a QMJHL championship. Internationally, Mantha represented his country at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship and led the team with 11 points (5-6-11) in seven games.
Mantha will be honored by the DSBA prior to a Red Wings home game during the 2017-18 season. The DSBA Red Wings Rookie of the Year Award dates back to the 1948-49 NHL season. Previous recipients of the award include current Red Wings Danny DeKeyser, Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Jimmy Howard, Niklas Kronwall, Dylan Larkin, Petr Mrazek, Gustav Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg.