The trade deadline is looming and the Detroit Red Wings are well out of playoff contention yet again. It will be no surprise that the Wings will be looking to move some players to get additional draft picks to help build for the future. The question now will be, who are the players that will be on the trading block? Could Anthony Mantha be among them?
Mantha has had incredibly high expectations for the organization ever since he was drafted. He was selected 20th overall in the 2013 NHL draft and deemed a steal. He has exceptional hands and amazing scoring potential for someone of his size. Standing at 6’5” 225 pounds, he is a big body on the ice. With that being said, Mantha has yet to live up to his potential. Some of this is because he has been a part of some very bad Red Wings teams of late. This has made it difficult for him to put up numbers that one might hope to see. This may not have been the case had he been playing with a team with more talent around him. However, there have been questions about his effort and performance in the past.
Anthony Mantha Then
In 2015, Mantha recorded 15 goals and 33 points with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins before suffering a leg injury that sidelined him for two months. To some’s surprise, Red Wings Senior Vice President, Jim Devellano said when asked about Mantha, that “he was very, very disappointed in what he has seen in the forward”. Over the past several seasons Mantha has shown signs of greatness. He had a quick start to last season giving many Red Wings fans signs of hope. He recorded 5 goals and 2 assists in Detroit’s first two games. In the team’s final 43 games before the season was ended short due to COVID, Mantha would only record 11 additional goals.
Anthony Mantha Now
This year the Red Wings are off to yet again another slow start. This has given some reason for concern, as many thought last season was the low point in the organization’s rebuild. Mantha is off to a slow start as well, with only 5 goals and 4 assists in the team’s first 19 games. The forward was signed to a four-year $22.8 million contract extension in the offseason by Steve Yzerman. To most, this would seem to signify that he was a part of the organization’s future. However, with his continual lackluster performance, one must believe that he could be a part of trade talks. It was just last week that coach Jeff Blashill held Mantha out as a healthy scratch. Was that strictly a coaching decision, or is that a deeper sign that upper management is disappointed in his performance?
Only time will tell what the Wings decide to do with Mantha. If they do decide to move him, the team should be able to get some good draft capital in return. Mantha would likely be a huge asset on a contender. A team that could use him on the second or third line, surrounded by much better talent could allow him to reach his full potential.