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Detroit Red Wings Player Grades: Anthony Mantha

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Player Profile:

Born: 9/16/94, Longueuil, QC

Height/Weight: 6’5/ 225 lbs.

Position: Forward

Contract: RFA

Player Stats:

GP: 80

Goals: 24

Assists: 24

Points: 48

Season Narrative

Anthony Mantha took a big step in his NHL career this past season. He played in a career high 80 games and had career highs in goals (24), assists (24) and points (48). Mantha also reached a career best in power play goals and power play points (nine and 12 respectively). His 24 goals was the most on the team and a number that the Detroit Red Wings are sure to want to see increase. Mantha finished third in the team in points behind Dylan Larkin and Henrik Zetterberg. Overall, a good season for the 23-year-old forward.

What He Did vs. Expectations

Mantha had three portions of the season in which he did not record a point in five or six straight games, along with one stretch in January during which he went four games without a point. If he wants to become an elite player, he has to limit these droughts. Mantha improved his play around the net, an area of the ice that his size will help him to allow him to thrive.

He received much criticism from Zetterberg and head coach Jeff Blashill, some of it justified and some of it over the top in my opinion. Yes, he needs to play better defensively, and as we have seen in this town, it can be something that takes time to learn. The best example of this is Steve Yzerman, so lets not get worked up over Mantha and defense just yet. Besides, he just played his first full NHL Season, playing in all but two games, so of course we can expect mistakes.

Overall, I thought Mantha did pretty well. We saw steps forward in every area of his game, and the mistakes he made will make him a better player in the long run, as long as he learns and grows from them. He should sign a bridge deal this offseason, and the hope is that by the end of that deal he is a more dominant player on the offensive end and much improved on the defensive end of things. The Red Wings will want to see that before committing to Mantha long term.

Final Grade: B

Up front I thought Mantha generally did a good job. The roster is not stacked with talent, and as a result there is little help for players like him and Larkin. Zetterberg was the only other Red Wing to score more than 40 points this season. In his first full season in the NHL, Mantha showed he can contribute offense to the team and while his defense and at times his backchecking have come into question those are areas with time and more coaching he will greatly improve at.

Mantha has taken a step forward each season, and now we will see if he is capable of taking a major leap forward that will make him a core part of the team’s future success.

Also, I am pleased that when criticized in the media, Mantha has stepped up and owned it. You can tell he wants to learn and grow his game and is ready to respond to the challenge.

What Grade Should Anthony Mantha Receive?


What Grade Should Anthony Mantha Receive?

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