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Anthony Mantha Thinks He Could Play In The NHL Now

from Brendan Savage of Mlive,

So despite being the club's No. 1 prospect – one whose arrival is more anticipated than perhaps any other player in the Red Wings' storied history – Mantha is destined to begin his first pro season in Grand Rapids and could spend the entire year in the AHL to gain more experience....

Mantha is ready to play for the Red Wings now.

"If you ask me, I think I am," Mantha said during last week' s development camp in Traverse City. "At the end of the summer, I'll be a few pounds heavier. I think I can play there. But as I mentioned, it's (about) coming to camp, being ready and we'll see.

"I need to keep working, keep getting stronger – on the ice, off the ice. At main camp, I need to be ready mentally so if they give me a chance I need to take it right away. I'll come over here with the best thinking and we'll build off that.

"The skill level is there. I'm a tall, big guy. I think I can play there but obviously I need to be ready next year."

For their part, the Red Wings say Mantha will be given every opportunity to make the big club when he reports to training camp in September. 

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Comments

gowings's avatar

the Red Wings say Mantha will be given every opportunity to make the big club when he reports to training camp in September.

Of course they will….............

Posted by gowings from MTL on 07/13/14 at 09:15 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

I like this bit:

And Babcock will undoubtedly find it difficult to put Mantha among his top six forwards with proven NHLers like Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Gustav Nyquist, Johan Franzen, Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Tatar already ahead of him on the depth chart.

If Mantha can’t take Abby’s spot, we might as well trade him now.

 

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/13/14 at 09:46 AM ET

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Manyha obviously didn’t read about Clesry signing, he has no chance to make the team now.  Even if he ever did before.

Posted by bababooey on 07/13/14 at 10:17 AM ET

elphantasmo5000's avatar

“Unless you can score 80 goals, and nobody scores 80 goals let alone 50 goals.”-Ken Holland

Players like Crosby, Ovechkin, Perry, Stamkos, and Malkin,  I guess he’s never heard of.

Posted by elphantasmo5000 on 07/13/14 at 10:21 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I’m curious to see what the adjustment period will be like for him. To hear it, he regularly skated for shifts approaching and even exceeding 90 seconds at the Q level. When you’re used to skating D-man level shifts, you’re going to float a little more than if you’re on the ice in shorter bursts. When he controls back down to NHL-length shifts will he find himself still keeping the habit of holding enough back because he expects to be out there twice as long or will he use more energy in those shorter bursts and be able to ration it out over the course of a game (and a week/month/season)?

I like that he thinks he’s ready now. I want them all to think that. It’s a very large step-up from the QMJHL level to the NHL though. I also love his attitude toward the idea that he might not (read: almost certainly will not) make the team out of camp:

“I think I need to get a great season in if it’s in Grand Rapids or Detroit,” Mantha said. “I need to get better all over the ice. I need to be a smarter player, maybe make my decisions a second and a half faster. That’s mostly the difference between the junior and pro level”

Bottom line is I don’t have a problem with Mantha being a long shot to make the big club out of camp. I think it would be nice for the organization to give him a season-starting taste of being in the lineup, just to give him a first-hand idea of the pace, but giving him time to adjust to a level with much bigger and more physical defensemen in the AHL while even he himself says he still has improving to do is’t a bad thing.

There have been a lot of complaints about the pace of prospect ascension, and I do think that they tend to hold some people down for too long (personally I’m concerned about Sproul being at a point where learning to fix some of his bad habits at the AHL level might actually hurt his ability to dominate play at the NHL level… much like I think happened with Smith).

However, I don’t think it’s a big deal if they send a 19-year old back to Grand Rapids for seasoning, even if that 19-year old looks like the most promising prospect to come through our system in a long time.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/13/14 at 10:42 AM ET

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Players like Crosby, Ovechkin, Perry, Stamkos, and Malkin,  I guess he’s never heard of.

Who are they?  Are they ex-Red Wings or Swedish?  Does Hakan know about them, I have no idea who they are.

Posted by bababooey on 07/13/14 at 10:46 AM ET

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A while back I used the most up-to-date league equivalency data I could find to try to put a worst-cast, medium-case, and best-case scenario for what Mantha could potentially do offensively if he played in the NHL in 2014-15.

This is based looking at the historical performance of 19-year-old juniors over the past several years (and decades) who made the transition straight to the NHL. How much did their junior scoring correlate to their NHL scoring in their rookie seasons?

Basically the numbers suggested that 19-year-old juniors who jump straight to the NHL retain anywhere from 15% to 40% of their junior scoring rate, with the average falling somewhere between 25% to 30%. For Mantha that means:

Worst case: 25 points per 82 NHL games in 2014-15
Medium case: high 40s to high 50s points per 82 NHL games in 2014-15
Best case: 70 points per 82 NHL games in 2014-15

There could be some bias here—players only go straight to the NHL if their teams think they’re ready, so it’s possible the numbers might be somewhat lower if we were somehow able to know how the 19-year-olds who DIDN’T make the NHL straight away would have done if they had. Maybe there are some flaws in Mantha’s game yet that would cause him to skew toward the lower end, or even below, these projections. And if that’s combined with weak defensive/possession play, then he probably does need a season or so of minor league competition first.

Still, I’m pretty confident saying that even if Mantha disappoints as a pro and ends up on the disaster end of the projection, I’m inclined to agree with him that he’s probably already good enough to crack Detroit’s roster. Hard to imagine him being worse than, say, Dan Cleary or Luke Glendening.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 07/13/14 at 10:55 AM ET

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KH said at one point that Mantha will make the team only if he beats somebody in the top 6 and there is no use/need to put him in the bottom six. The approach I actually agree with, but not when have Abby in top six and potentially Cleary.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/13/14 at 01:18 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Mantha is a winger. Abdelkader is slated as a winger when you include him in the top 6. If Mantha isn’t better than Abdelkader, well… that sucks.

We all love Abdelkader and he brings a consistent game. But his game is basically what Cleary’s game was when Cleary was still good—jack of all trades. He can take net-front on the PP. He can take some PK shifts. When one of your top two lines aren’t going, you can throw him up there to add some energy, net-front presence, and puck retrieval. But if your top 6 are going good, Abdelkader looks best either player center or wing on your third line, occasionally cycling in some shifts with the top units to keep everyone fresh.

Certainly, I don’t want to see Mantha playing RW alongside Glendening. That’s not going to help him. GR is much better. But I don’t believe for a minute the Wings will give him a truly fair shake at making the team out of camp, especially not after bringing Dan Cleary back on a one-way deal.

And holy crap, let’s not forget how good of a season Sheahan had, all things considered. He’s definitively ready to play primtime NHL hockey.

The only thing that makes me happy about the Red Wings right now is thinking that in a couple years a line with Sheahan and Mantha might be able to terrorize the division. You know, if Holland doesn’t trade both guys and a first round pick for Wendel Clark and Cory Cross.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/13/14 at 01:32 PM ET

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“If you don’t score, can you kill a penalty, are you good defensively, can you win physical battles, can you protect the puck down low, can you forecheck and force the defense to make mistakes? It’s more than just can you score.”

Question to KH: Which of these things can Cleary do?

Posted by VPalmer on 07/13/14 at 01:46 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Posted by VPalmer on 07/13/14 at 01:46 PM ET

You really should get all that sand in your vagina checked out. It can’t be good for your health longterm.

Posted by SK77 on 07/13/14 at 02:12 PM ET

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SK77 - always good to talk to a mature person, thank you for letting me know your level of education, it will help.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/13/14 at 02:26 PM ET

PDXWing's avatar

You deserve some chastising for your incessant bitching, VPalmer. It’s a little much when you are just restating the majority opinion. It’s already an echo chamber in this place, no need to add to the din.

Posted by PDXWing on 07/13/14 at 03:49 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Bottom line is I don’t have a problem with Mantha being a long shot to make the big club out of camp. I think it would be nice for the organization to give him a season-starting taste of being in the lineup, just to give him a first-hand idea of the pace, but giving him time to adjust to a level with much bigger and more physical defensemen in the AHL while even he himself says he still has improving to do is’t a bad thing.

I watched Mantha play a couple of games during the playoffs, and he looked good. He also looked green which more than likely means he will start the season in Grand Rapids to be called up later in the season to cover for injuries.

Posted by bigfrog on 07/13/14 at 04:10 PM ET

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You deserve some chastising

I am not sure who you are to make any determination who deserves what, but I’ve been a fan of this great team for 27 years and very upset with the direction KH is taking this team lately and the signing of Cleary in particular (as a major sign of KH losing ability to operate this great franchise) for a variety of reasons expressed in details by George, me and many fans on this forum and on all other forums.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/13/14 at 06:02 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

The echo chamber effect is why there’s Twitter and Facebook and other places to speak here…And it’s why some us could use five minutes to CALM THE *#$%@& DOWN and, y’know, enjoy the bright spots not involving #71…Just sayin.’

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/13/14 at 06:12 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Or perhaps we could find a way to not drive a conversation about Anthony Mantha to turn into an unrelated complaint-fest about Daniel Cleary, considering there’s plenty of other places to do that.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/13/14 at 06:20 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/13/14 at 06:25 PM ET

perfection's avatar

good luck with that. Cleary is going to be inserted in every comments section of every post the whole season whether it’s relevant or not. It’s tiresome for sure which is why I attempt a “calm down” post every so often though that is pretty obviously futile. Like last year, some actual hockey should prove at least a mild distraction… but that does mean at least another month and a half of endless whining. 

re. Mantha, I’m with you J.J. that he probably could use a year of learning a man’s game in the AHL. I mean, it’s a big jump from the Q to the AHL, let alone the NHL. I’d like to see him get a call-up here or there in the second half of the year, but at his age, it’d be great to see him dominate a bit at the AHL level. I’m trying to reserve my expectations that the kid is a future hall of famer until I see this at least.

But wherever he plays, I’m really excited to watch him. Actually went to the Hawks/Wings preseason game last year in Chicago where Mantha dressed. He didn’t do anything, but he also hadn’t just had the year he just had. He’s definitely taken a massive step forward since then. But I think there’s one more massive step before he’s a top-6 winger on the Wings.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 07/13/14 at 06:38 PM ET

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To George: OK, noted, sorry for that.

Posted by VPalmer on 07/13/14 at 07:18 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

We’re all dealing with Post-Traumatic Cleary Signing Disorder (PTCSDD) so it’s no biggie to me.

And no offense meant to anybody who deals with PTSD. Which is awful.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/13/14 at 07:24 PM ET

Avatar

We’re all dealing with Post-Traumatic Cleary Signing Disorder (PTCSDD)

So true:)

Posted by VPalmer on 07/13/14 at 08:40 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Yeah, the whining about Cleary might be getting old, but it’s relevant to almost every discussion we will have about this team until they inevitably have him riding the pressbox, he’s out indefinitely with an injury, or they demote him/buy him out (not even including trade him because duh on multiple levels).

Want to talk about the team’s cap situation? Gotta talk Cleary. Not a huge cap number, but teams that want to compete for the top generally need to make good use of all the space they can find.

Want to talk about improving scoring? Gotta talk Cleary. Because Tatar, Nyquist, Jurco, and Sheahan all proved they can score (to varying degrees) in the NHL last season, and Cleary proved that he’s past it. Putting him on the roster with a one-way deal means, even if those four guys are regulars, that one or multiples of them will have some ice time taken away.

Want to talk about improving team defense? Gotta talk Cleary. He’s got the head for it and the work ethic, but doesn’t look like he has the knees any more. I actually don’t think this defense corps is too bad—Babcock did good work with them the last year and a half. The big problem has been two-fold—they defend pretty well in their own end, but do NOT move the puck up ice well, which pins them in longer than any D can handle (not relevant to Cleary); and gap control has been bad (relevant to Cleary). If Cleary was like Homer and you knew you’d get close to 20 goals out of him and he’d forever be the engine of your power play, he’d be worth it. But he’s not. And he has lost the legs to maintain those gaps. He gets caught both up ice and back down.

Yeah, it is tiresome talking about Dan Cleary, but it is plenty relevant, unfortunately. The worst part is that it is a symptom of everything that appears to be wrong with Ken Holland’s thinking. I appreciate that as a person he made this deal. You shake a guy’s hand, and all that. Yeah, it’s touching. But the NHL is about winning. If you want to make good on what Cleary missed out on financially by coming back last year, find another way. Make him Director of Knee Rehab or Special Assistant to the GM’s Ballsack. God knows the Wings have hired nearly every other glory days plugger to front office positions, whether they appear qualified or not (and I’m okay with this… you gotta find these people somehow and training with the Wings is a fine deal).

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/14/14 at 08:39 AM ET

Crater's avatar

Little bit late but..

Question to KH: Which of these things can Cleary do?

Posted by VPalmer on 07/13/14 at 01:46 PM ET

He forced the defense to make mistakes… Unfortunately its our defense…

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 07/14/14 at 02:43 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.