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Abel to Yzerman

Dangle Mantha Or Athanasiou For A Defenseman?

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Few players are generating as much buzz at the current world championships than Anthony Mantha.

The Red Wings’ forward has carried his late-season scoring surge into the world tournament. Mantha was second in the tournament with seven points (three goals, four assists) in only three games for Canada, skating and playing with the puck about as well as he did at any point during the regular season.

Which is great news for the Red Wings, as Mantha, possibly further increases … his trade value?


The chances are slim of Mantha being dealt, especially given the way the line of Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi exploded the final weeks of the regular season....

That leaves Athanasiou and Mantha, primarily, as two names that jump out.

So, why not ship a good young forward for a talented young defenseman?...

Could the Avalanche be a trading partner? Or maybe Carolina, with its deep defense, or Anaheim or Nashville, both looking to reshape their lineups and searching for scoring depth, with perhaps a defensemen to spare?

There are teams which could be a good fit.


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WingedRider's avatar

The only thing that should jump out, is Ted at 10,000 feet jumping out of a plane not wearing a parachute.

Were do you plan on putting this ($$$) DMan?

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 05/14/19 at 06:33 PM ET


I don’t think this is a bad idea. Mantha or AA is going to get a raise next contract, so if we can get a similarly valued young Dman, I’m all for it as long as we can somehow clear our logjam at D.

Posted by petesrw on 05/14/19 at 07:38 PM ET

Alan's avatar

I’m honestly not keen on parting with either of those players, unless it’s one of those offers you can’t refuse. AA and Mantha are a part of our core. It seems a little silly to split that up unless it’s one hell of a sweetheart deal.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 05/14/19 at 08:07 PM ET


Frk no! Detroit is about to sign Oliwer Kaski. It is a bad idea to trade 1 of the top 2 and 3 players on this team. Detroit also has 2 top prospects in wings waiting, in Jared Mcisaac and Gustav Lindstrom. Additionally, Detroit may have the opportunity to draft Bowen Byram, I know it is unlikely, but you never know. Don’t forget free agency is always an option. The best option is to continue to draft, and sign top players in the NCAA or overseas. Remember what Yzerman said, signing or trading for one player isn’t going to move the needle for Detroit. Detroit is heading in the right direction.

Posted by AdrenRush369 on 05/14/19 at 08:09 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

Posted by AdrenRush369 on 05/14/19 at 08:09 PM ET


Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 05/14/19 at 08:12 PM ET


A lot of focus in this article is on new contracts.
If Mantha new contract will be $6-7 mil per year, wouldn’t the contract of dman we get back would be in the same range?

Posted by VPalmer on 05/14/19 at 08:26 PM ET


Yzerman trades Larkin, you heard it here first.

Posted by VFUSION on 05/14/19 at 08:36 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Remember what Yzerman said, signing or trading for one player isn’t going to move the needle for Detroit. Detroit is heading in the right direction.

Agreed. The Red Wings need scoring. Need to develop defense men, unlike previous years. smile

Posted by bigfrog on 05/14/19 at 09:01 PM ET


Let the kids play.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/14/19 at 09:08 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 05/14/19 at 06:33 PM ET

Not sure why Ted has to die for this article but OK.

Posted by ilovehomers on 05/14/19 at 09:14 PM ET


Really Ted, you would dangle 30+ plus goal scorers, especially factoring in ice time, AA’s numbers were accumulated in 1290 TOI. Mantha in 1194 TOI. We need to unload non performers, not performers. Larkin, AA, Mantha and Bertuzzi accounted for 110 of the 224 goals scored by the wings this season. Would look to correct the problem with this team, which is mainly defense without creating another problem, because our offense is also lacking. Quit trying to trade away an asset to maybe gain an asset. This ship is taking on water don’t remove the good performing bilge pumps, try replacing the pumps that aren’t performing.

Posted by stateofmifan on 05/14/19 at 11:54 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

once again we’re dealing with an article we can classify as “click bait”.

You’d think Ted would know better by now but oh well.

I think Mantha is finally figuring out just how big his body really is and has started to use it properly. He can command just about any spot on the ice he wants and is very hard to move. No he won’t be traded ... too much upside ... he could be another Keith Primeau or Jumbo Joe Thornton or dare I say .... Mario Lemieux.

AA had contract issues last time around but Holland isn’t here to hold a grudge. He really depends on the sharpest of skate blades and often loses an edge anyway. Once he learns to stay upright while making his moves to the net he’ll be hard to stop but he needs to fill out that upper body a bit. Still working on his faceoff skills too. As good as he is now, where will je be 2 to 3 years from now ??  Based on sheer speed alone I wouldn’t want to trade him. You can always slow him down a bit so he’s more in control.

I’ll repeat what others have said…
once you find high skilled players for that next gen core, why would you think its a good idea to trade any of them ??? You’re just pushing back the rebuild that much more.

Kinda like what the Detroit Tigers have done ... bwaahahahaha

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 05/15/19 at 12:08 AM ET


No but I would look what some package of 2 or 3 players from Rasmussen, Zadina, Svechnikov and Cholowski can get out there.

Posted by Dseven on 05/15/19 at 02:02 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Its mid may, not much else to write about with the wings.

If we try to put together a package of non performing parts, ie Helm/Abdelkader/Nielsen, what the heck do you expect to get back? They have -negative- trade value. We’d have to pay to get rid of them unless Yzerman can pull a Holland when he got rid of Datsyuk’s contract.

Posted by ilovehomers on 05/15/19 at 06:39 AM ET


You’d think Ted would know better by now but oh well.

Yeah, because this certainly didn’t start a conversation…

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/15/19 at 08:21 AM ET


A bit surprised by the venom towards Ted for what isn’t a horrible idea.  I mean, I’m not in favour of doing this, but I certainly hope they explore it.  Getting a top D is not easy, even through the draft necessarily as a promising as a few guys we have look, I wouldn’t say for certain any of them are for sure a top 2 at the moment.  Let alone a 1.  Now, the liklihood of getting that in trade is also not high.  When you get Adam Larsson for Hall…. well…. ya.  However, if you can pull of a Ryan Johannsen for Seth Jones trade… I’m sorry but I’m trading either Mantha or AA in that case.  They both have potential, even to be difference makers, but they aren’t yet or not necessarily will be superstars.  So to rule out completely the idea of potentially trading them is…. crazy.  BUT, swinging one of those deals is highly unlikely so ya, don’t trade them for just anyone, but if you can find a matching need with another team, I’ll take an equally promising D over a promising Winger any day of the week.  It’s far fetched, but Ted isn’t an idiot for suggesting exploring it.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/15/19 at 08:46 AM ET


One thing I’m curious about… Edmonton desperately needs to improve their bottom 6.  More likely with cheap guys.  But Helm is an interesting case…. and MAYBE Abs.. (highly unlikely).  But with Holland there, does he consider going with what he knows to bring in some experience and decent play on the bottom two lines from Detroit?  Abs has seriously regressed, so with that contract, probably isn’t going anywhere, but Helm doesn’t make that much and doesn’t have much term left…. he could actually potentially help there.  Probably not, but I can dream! 
Or even Glendenning!  I mean, sure, maybe he’s a good influence here… but we’ve got a bunch of cheap assets that can take his place (I’ll even be open and accept maybe at less performance than Glenny, though I doubt it), but Ehn, Turgeon, etc…. Not to mention if you start giving guys like Svech and Hirose time on say the third line, you need to move the Helm’s et al down a line or two!

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/15/19 at 08:50 AM ET


Posted by ilovehomers on 05/15/19 at 06:39 AM ET
That’s kinda what I was thinking homers, NTC contracts use up a protection as we near expansion. Seattle is headed in for 2021 and we’ll leave too many quality players unprotected.

Posted by stateofmifan on 05/15/19 at 08:55 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Max Bultman of The Athletic,

...we checked in with three other NHL beat writers at The Athletic about players on the teams they cover who could fit the Red Wings’ long-term direction to see what it might take to acquire them — even if doing so this summer could be viewed as counterintuitive at first.

It’s all speculative at this point, but each of these players either fits the age range to help Detroit’s next contender, or carries with them the chance to add a prospect who does. Let’s dive in….

Jets beat writer Murat Ates: The Jacob Trouba saga almost has to come to an end this summer. The Rochester-born, University of Michigan alum stalwart needs a new contract and is one year from UFA eligibility. There also have been rumors ever since his 2016 contract impasse that he’d rather play in an American market.

Detroit could be at the top of Trouba’s list — not only because of his Michigan roots but because the Red Wings are one of the few teams who might offer Trouba the top minutes at even strength and on the power play that he so strongly desires. If anyone could realistically sign Trouba to a long-term extension, it should be Detroit….

On the ice, Winnipeg’s most pressing need is a player who can come in and play in its top four — without Trouba and with the potential loss of Tyler Myers to UFA, there are going to be more opportunities on D in Winnipeg than there are experienced bodies to fill them. It should be noted that the Jets are presumably in win-now mode; the most ideal return would be a defender who can slot somewhere into their top four. The Jets would likely base their ask around stud defensive prospect Filip Hronek but, failing that, a veteran like Green plus prospects may have some appeal.

more ($$$) plus two more players mentioned, Colin Miller, RHD, Vegas (26 years old) and Ryan Callahan, RW, Tampa Bay (34 years old) and

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/15/19 at 09:06 AM ET


Not sure why Colin Miller fell out of favor - just don’t know Vegas’s situation we’ll enough.

Why would Detroit want Callahan - a throw in for the last year of his contract presumably? Seems odd if we still have Abby, Helm and the more useful Glendening.

Would have to be some useful throw in.

Not sure trading real assets for Trouba is worth it. Green and how much more?
Hard to believe Green and just a little extra would get it done. Even if the Jets don’t have ideal leverage Trouba is still probably a top pairing D.

Posted by lefty.30 on 05/15/19 at 10:11 AM ET


A few other UFA for ‘20 - and sure most will likely be re-signed or perhaps traded:

Hamonic (western conference only I’m sure)

Posted by lefty.30 on 05/15/19 at 10:14 AM ET


Rasmussen and Svechnikov have not shown nearly enough promise to justify trading away either Mantha or AA in my opinion.

A player like Trouba or Barrie wouldn’t come close to moving the needle with this team, even if the Wings still had AA or Mantha in the lineup. Trading one of the forwards for that caliber of defenseman would essentially be a wash.

Between Cholowski, Hronek, Mcisaac, Lindstrom, and hopefully a draft pick or FA signing (this year or next year), the wings are in OK shape right now. The team should continue to wait for the bad contracts to end and keep building. I wouldn’t mind seeing them use some of the extra draft capital to move up and target a defender they like, if it makes sense of course.

IMO, you can’t trade away any young talent at this point. If they develop, it could make DET a more attractive destination for free agents.

Posted by Charles1986 on 05/15/19 at 10:17 AM ET


One has to explore every option of improving the defense and no one on the Wings should be considered untouchable except Larkin, at this point.

You don’t trade AA or Mantha for an older middle of the pack defenseman but if you could get a younger D with decent upside already proven worth it should be considered. You have to give something to get something.

Money isn’t the issue. They’d likely be trading dollars for dollars and the Wings have plenty of cap space coming.

But no trade for D is going to work without figuring out how to deal with logjam that currently exists on D. They don’t even have enough spots for their current prospects let alone trading for a player who would bump everyone down the chart.

BTW, be careful if that trading partner is Nashville. They will try to unload a couple of defenders who are one dimensional, overpriced and/or backsliding.

Posted by evileye on 05/15/19 at 10:42 AM ET


Abs has seriously regressed

He hasn’t seriously regressed because he was never that good.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/15/19 at 10:48 AM ET


Posted by evileye on 05/15/19 at 10:42 AM ET
Kinda disagree, IMHO AA and Mantha are 30-40 per season goal scorers and AA is exceptionally high for goal scoring ability 5v5/60. Not likely to easily replace either one of these individuals. First of all, wouldn’t be excited about breaking up our first line. AA actually still looks a little lost and puts up top goal numbers anyway. Getting him on a set line with good complimentary players would boost his performance. AA equalled Larkin’s 8 PPA and he did it playing on the first unit PP for only the last half of the season. Wouldn’t move these players.

Posted by stateofmifan on 05/15/19 at 11:15 AM ET


The current logjam on defense will quickly be over when, after next season, Daley, Green, Ericsson, Bowey and Kronwall (assuming he’s resigned) are gone. So who’s playing on the back end then? Detroit will need to fill multiple spots and it won’t be with players in their system currently. Hronek will be playing but after that there’s a big drop off. Yzerman also probably can’t wait until next offseason when he’ll have an immediate need for defencemen. You can go out and sign a 30+ year old to $6-7 million, and maybe there’s a fit there for somebody. Young talented d-men aren’t acquired through free agency. If there’s a solid top 2-3 defencemen 25 or under available via trade you absolutely consider moving Mantha or AA. Defense has been a weak point on this team for years and that’s going to change any time real soon.

Posted by godblender on 05/15/19 at 11:53 AM ET


Jack Johnson is available.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 05/15/19 at 12:33 PM ET


Posted by godblender on 05/15/19 at 11:53 AM ET
Think you’re giving up too early on Cholowski and Bowey. IMO Sulak looks promising. Detroit’s PP is lacking just like Montreal. A big increase would be to increase our PP% by 5%. With over 240 PPs per season that would amount to 12 more goals per season. Hypothetically, that could be 24 possible points especially with all the overtime and one goal losses. I feel the team is fairly close and as the bad contracts expire or are sold then make proper evaluations.

Posted by stateofmifan on 05/15/19 at 12:34 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Posted by Charles1986 on 05/15/19 at 10:17 AM ET

Great post and solid points.

Scoring is hard in this league, you don’t give up a 25 plus goal scorer during a rebuild. Maybe a few years down the road when you are closer to being a contender but at this point it doesn’t make sense.

I also believe there is some good D prospects in the pipeline, but not enough. But at the same time as you mentioned, Rasmussen and Svechnikov have not shown it’s their time. And I would add Zadina to that. I am not sold on the kid, but he has tons of potential. Veleno may be able to raise his game quicker to the NHL level faster than Zadina and maybe even the other two. Time will tell.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/15/19 at 01:28 PM ET


Don’t disagree Damdog, but right now, all of those prospects are maybe’s.  And to talk about Mantha and AA as 35-40 goal scorers?  Lets do that when they get there.  They are wingers, a wingers value is nowhere close to a stud D no matter how good they are.  There are a handful of guys at W in this league that I’d consider to be true difference makers.  If you get get a Seth Jones equivalent…young, somehwat proven already… I’m not talking a prospect and I’m not talking a middle aged guy… I’m talking a 21-22 year guy that is on a team that is poised to win and wants more to get over the hump and will make that dumb decision.  I wouldn’t even hesitate to trade Mantha or AA, especially AA.  He’s a game breaker for sure, valuable, but streaky and I question if more minutes against tougher lines will translate for him.  He reminds me of a faster more flashy Hudler.  Fantastic to have on your third, maybe second line, but if you play him higher, his production doesn’t go up necessarily and his weaknesses show more.  Maybe he’ll continue to round out his game, but I’ll take a Seth Jones instead please. 
Admittedly though, finding that guy AND a team willing to trade him, is slim to none. 

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 05/15/19 at 10:48 AM ET
Abs has declined.  I never claimed he was good, in the sense.  But he used to hit people, be a great forechecier and puck getter…. but he doesn’t even do that anymore.  I don’t care if he scores really, but if he was the physical forecheck guy of 3 years ago (maybe even 2), I’d keep him on the bottom lines. But you don’t give those guys 8 year contracts or whatever….thats ridiculous.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/15/19 at 02:08 PM ET


Right now, there is nobody on this team you feel confident on the backend being your number one guy.  If you are in a series, who are you playing 25-30 minutes a night in a crucial game?  Hronek?  Good offense, great guy, but shutdown the other teams top line?  Cholowski… might be the best hope because of his skating and mobility, but not even close yet.  You need to find that guy, and I don’t think we’ve drafted him yet either….  Some of the younger/newer prospects… by time they are, some of tehse guys are pushing their late 20’s….. We really have to hope for Cholo to get it, and get it quick and keep improving.  He COULD be a Morgan Reilly type mold potentially…. that would be the hope.  Or like a Macavoy.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/15/19 at 02:12 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Hell yes I would consider it, 100%.  To me you see which bites on a reasonable longer term offer, and move the other unless your scouting and internal assessments say otherwise.

The problem with AA and Mantha is that you don’t know how either will fare in real hockey, cough cough, playoff hockey. My sense is that Mantha is the keeper there, I just don’t see AA getting a bunch of squeaky breakaways or dangling dmen in the post season, not in the 2nd round and beyond at least. Very well could be wrong, but I just worry about him performing him man games, given his lack of testicle fortitude to play along the walls and corners get dirty and dig for a puck thus far.

I also feel with AA, that this dude is just pushing himself to be a UFA, so he can go to the highest bidder, its the path he’s chosen to take, and are we going to want to pay him like the highest bidder? 

Besides, in YzerGod we trust right? If his team’s assessment is that we need it, do it.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/15/19 at 02:29 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/15/19 at 02:12 PM ET

Great point, elite forwards play 20 minutes a night, elite Dman play 30.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/15/19 at 02:38 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/15/19 at 02:08 PM ET

Not sure where I mentioned anything about a 35-40 goal scorer.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/15/19 at 04:14 PM ET


You didn’t, I mentioned 30-40. Our players scored 25 and 30 in 1194 and 1290 TOI, when most big scorers are given as much as 1600TOI.

Posted by stateofmifan on 05/15/19 at 04:43 PM ET


Going through some stats again, and GF/GA differential is the biggest tell tail for post season play. Take Montreal, decent defense but not enough offense only one player with more than 30 goals. Our differential is so bad it would take about three top defensemen to bring it close especially with the loss of a 30+ goal scorer. Also, again Montreal’s PP stinks probably because it’s partially due to a lack of goal scorers.

Posted by stateofmifan on 05/15/19 at 05:43 PM ET

AxeMaster9's avatar

These “dog days of August” speculation articles are coming out earlier and earlier.  Ted has a job to do and as somebody else mentioned it has sparked a conversation with the completely reasonable and low-key 19.  Mantha isn;t going anywhere.  AA however I could see being dangled out there to see who is biting.  Federov had the pedigree to be a holdout and still come back in ‘98.  Then again AA was on Hollands watch so who really knows.

Posted by AxeMaster9 from Flint, MI on 05/15/19 at 10:10 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Poor Ted.  TDN making bank on the clickbait.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 05/16/19 at 12:12 AM ET


Sorry damndog….

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 05/15/19 at 04:14 PM ET

The first comment was in reply to you, the 35-40 was mentioned earlier by someone else and I was bringing that up but that was not clear.  Apologies.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/16/19 at 07:38 AM ET


Yes, they had not much TOI, but Mantha in particular and somewhat AA made bank the last couple weeks of the season as well… they call it garbage time for a reason. 
They are really good pieces, Mantha, in particular, I think can be close to great if he puts it all together and consistently…. but they are nowhere near untradeable for the right trade. 

This team seriously needs a stud Dman… whether someone jumps out of their prospects or they trade for one, it needs to happen, otherewise their core of forwards will start getting older and older..

Posted by DieByTheWing on 05/16/19 at 07:44 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com