The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/30/13 at 04:22 PM ET
Updated 15x at 8:24 PM:The Detroit Red Wings picked Anthony Mantha with their 1st round draft pick, 20th overall, after making a swap with the Sharks.
With a wise man looking on...
The Sports Forecaster on Mantha:
Assets: Is a natural goal-scoring talent with great size and instincts for putting the biscuit in the basket. For a big winger, he skates very well, too. Displays great hand/eye coordination. Can play either wing position.
Flaws: Needs to work on his play at the defensive end of the rink and also his game-to-game consistency. Must fill out his big frame in order to maximize his scoring potential at the highest level.
Career Potential: Big goal-scoring winger with good upside.
Update #1: The Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy on Mantha:
Mantha is 6-foot-3 and put up 22 goals and 51 points in 63 games for the Foreurs last season, ranking him fourth on the team despite his rookie status. He capped off his campaign by helping Canada win bronze at the World Under-18 Championship and is eager to build from where he left off.
“I think it will be the same responsibilities I had last year after Christmas,” Mantha said. “Bring some offense, get power play time and contribute defensively to the team.”
Born and raised in the Montreal suburb of Longueuil, Mantha is far from home in northern mining country, but he said he loves Val-d'Or and his billets in particular. But no matter how nice his new home is there are still some brutal bus rides and the big teen has developed a standard coping mechanism.
“I take Gravol because I get car sick,” he laughed. “So I sleep the whole way.”
Mantha still wants to work on his explosiveness, but knows that right now his strengths lie in his puck skills.
“Bringing the puck to the net and my vision, passing the puck around,” he said. “I know where the guys are going on the ice, so I can read the play a fraction of the play faster.”
NHL.com's Apron Basu penned an article about Mantha...
[H]is coach in Val-d'Or, Mario Durocher, said it is a side of Mantha that fans and even most scouts don't get to see that has him most impressed.
"He's a very intelligent kid. It's great talking hockey with him," Durocher told NHL.com. "He's always asking the right questions in practice and even pointing things out that we might have missed sometimes."
That innate sense for the game has been passed down to Mantha along family lines. His grandfather is Andre Pronovost, a forward who played 556 games for four NHL teams between 1956 and 1967, winning the Stanley Cup in each of his first four full professional seasons with the powerhouse Montreal Canadiens of the late 1950s.
Mantha has been tutored in the game by his grandfather since a young age, and he said the message has been consistent from Day 1.
"He gives me a lot of advice, but it's mainly to remind me to work hard every game, every shift, and that's what will bring me success," Mantha told NHL.com. "It's not complicated. It applied when he played and it still applies today. As soon as you stop working, you stop going forward. So you have to keep working."
Mantha, who is third in the league with 25 goals and sixth with 45 points, is sixth among QMJHL skaters in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of the top players for the 2013 NHL Draft.
"He's a big kid with a lot of skill," NHL Central Scouting Chris Bordeleau said. "He has everything you need to succeed -- he can skate, he's smart, he reads the play, he has everything. But if there's one negative, he sometimes has a tendency to take the easy way out. … He might need to work on his defensive game, but he can be taught that. You can't teach talent like he has, or hands like he has."
NHL.com had him ranked 10th among North American skaters:
• In 2012-13, Mantha led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and tied for second in the Canadian Hockey League with 50 goals in 67 games (50-39--89). He recorded five hat tricks, posted one four-goal performance and was named to the QMJHL Second All-Star Team.
• He led the Foreurs in scoring with 12 points (5-7--12) in nine games during the 2013 playoffs -- Val-d’Or lost to Blainsville-Boisbrand in the second round.
• Mantha helped Team Canada capture a bronze medal at the 2012 Under-18 World Championship, scoring one goal in seven games.
• His grandfather is four-time Stanley Cup champion Andre Pronovost -- he played 556 games for Montreal, Boston, Detroit and Minnesota between the 1956-57 and 1967-68 seasons.
NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau:
“He's a big kid with a lot of skill. He has everything you need to succeed -- he can skate, he's smart, he reads the play, he has everything. He might need to work on his defensive game, but he can be taught that. You can't teach talent like he has, or hands like he has.”
Val-d’Or head coach Mario Durocher:
"He's a very intelligent kid. It's great talking hockey with him. He's always asking the right questions in practice and even pointing things out that we might have missed sometimes."
Update #2: Sarah Lindenau found a profile of Mantha...
RedWingsCentral's already weighing in...
1-20. LW Anthony Mantha, 6-4, 190, 67-50-39-89-71, Val-d’Or (QMJHL). The grandson of former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Andre Pronovost, Mantha stands 6-foot-4 and was the only 50-goal scorer in the draft. A pure sniper with a tremendous shot, Mantha was knocked in most pre-draft scouting reports for being a perimeter player who lacks competitiveness. “He’s a big, rangy winger who has battled inconsistency shift to shift, but this is a goal-scorer,” said TSN analyst Ray Ferraro.
Here's ESPN's Insider draft analysts on Mantha...
20 Anthony Mantha
Detroit Red Wings (from SJS)
TEAM: Val d'Or (QMJHL)
Pick analysis: Mantha is a 6-4 scoring machine, netting 50 this past year in the QMJHL. He has an excellent release to his shot and has the understanding of how to get open and find lanes in the offensive zone. He will need to grow up and form a more consistent overall game. In time I believe he will overcome those shortcomings. His overall hockey sense is excellent and the potential to score in the NHL is high. -- Sonier
Team analysis: Confidence in his puck skills and skating serve him well. He is definitely a playmaker. Physical play and his compete level were a concern. However, give him three years in Detroit's system and he'll be exactly what they want. -- Starman
And the Hockey News's draft preview had Mantha going 24th overall, stating:
Only three players in major junior scored 50 or more goals this season and Mantha was one of them.
So you look at his attributes-- he's6'4," skates well, can score and handle the puck--and wonder why he's not an elite first-rounder. He might be the draft's purest scorer, but many guys with inferior stats get more love. "He's not the most eager kid," one scout said. Some nights you wonder where the intensity is."
Guys as big as Mantha don't often look as though they're working hard, even when they are. As far as one scout is concerned, Mantha has put in the work. He said Mantha could hardly play in the league two years ago, but has seen more growth in his game than any other player in the draft. "He's just a very gifted offensive player, a guy who's one-shot dangerous," another scout said. "It's amazing to me that I see a guy so gifted and hear so much negativity about him. I'd take him in a heartbeat."
Update #3: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan on Mantha:
Mantha tied for second in the Canadian Hockey League with 50 goals in 67 games (89 points). He recorded five hat tricks, posted one four-goal performance and was named to the QMJHL Second All-Star Team.
He led the Foreurs in scoring with 12 points (5-7--12) in nine games during the 2013 playoffs -- Val-d’Or lost to Blainsville-Boisbrand in the second round.
Mantha helped Team Canada capture a bronze medal at the 2012 Under-18 World Championship, scoring one goal in seven games.
His grandfather is four-time Stanley Cup champion Andre Pronovost -- he played 556 games for Montreal, Boston, Detroit and Minnesota between the 1956-57 and 1967-68 seasons.
The Red Wings were hoping that forward Valery Nichuskin would fall to them at 18, but he was selected at No. 10 by the Dallas Stars and their new general manager Jim Nill, the former Detroit assistant GM.
Some in the Red Wings organization believe Nichushkin is the best Russian in the draft since Alexander Ovechkin in 2004.
WXYZ's Brad Galli took note of the Wings' pick...
The Red Wings moved back in the draft, but ended up getting what they came for: a power forward.
Detroit selected forward Anthony Mantha with the 20th selection of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Mantha was the only 50 goal scorer in the entire draft class. Playing for Val-d’Or Foreurs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, his 89 points turned heads this season.
"You can’t teach talent like he has, or hands like he has,” Chris Bordeleau of NHL Central Scouting said before the draft.
Concerns about his game center on his ability to play in front of the net, and Pro Hockey Talk said scouts questioned his 'eagerness.'
Moments before their selection at No. 18 overall, the Red Wings traded their pick to the San Jose Sharks for the 20th and 58th picks.
As did the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...
From TSN Scout Craig Button: Anthony is a very gifted scorer. “Excellent hands and he is able to handle the puck in traffic and in tight spots and get his shot to the net in a manner that makes it difficult for goaltenders. Can attack in multiple ways, skating and shooting in stride, in traffic around the net and in a ‘post-up’ position. He has goal scoring instincts and is very quick to recognize them and take advantage. Gets himself open at the right times and is a hard player to keep in check. He is smart and recognizes where the opportunities may present themselves and is capable of making plays which allows him to impact the game in multiple ways from an offensive standpoint. He has continually progressed and he is the type of player who can make a significant offensive contribution at the NHL level.”
NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau: “He’s a big kid with a lot of skill. He has everything you need to succeed — he can skate, he’s smart, he reads the play, he has everything. He might need to work on his defensive game, but he can be taught that. You can’t teach talent like he has, or hands like he has.”
Val-d’Or head coach Mario Durocher: “He’s a very intelligent kid. It’s great talking hockey with him. He’s always asking the right questions in practice and even pointing things out that we might have missed sometimes.”
And the Free Press's Helene St. James:
The Detroit Red Wings selected Anthony Mantha with the 20th overall pick.
Mantha is a 6-foot-4, 190-pound left wing out of Val d’Or in the Quebec major junior hockey league, where last season he scored 50 goals.
One spot removed from being on the clock to make a selection, the Wings traded their original first-round pick, at 18th, to San Jose in exchange for the 20th and 58th selections Sunday at Prudential Center in New Jersey.
From the Wings:
Elite Prospects on Mantha:
Mantha is a brilliant skater with great speed. He is a dangerous scorer with a very good shot and quick release, which he loves to use. Mantha has very good size and reach and knows how to hold on to the puck. While receiving criticism for insonsistancy, he has improved his defensive play and physicality. Once he adds some grit aggressiveness into his play, Mantha has the tools to become a solid top-six NHL forward. (Matias Strozyk, 2013)
Mantha per TSN's Craig Button:
TSN Scout Craig Button: Anthony is a very gifted scorer. Excellent hands and he is able to handle the puck in traffic and in tight spots and get his shot to the net in a manner that makes it difficult for goaltenders. Can attack in multiple ways, skating and shooting in stride, in traffic around the net and in a 'post-up' position. He has goal scoring instincts and is very quick to recognize them and take advantage. Gets himself open at the right times and is a hard player to keep in check. He is smart and recognizes where the opportunities may present themselves and is capable of making plays which allows him to impact the game in multiple ways from an offensive standpoint. He has continually progressed and he is the type of player who can make a significant offensive contribution at the NHL level.
Pro Hockey Talk's Joe Yerdon on Mantha:
What kind of player is he?
The million dollar question for Mantha is figuring out just what kind of player he’s going to be. This season he scored a career-high 50 goals and 89 points for Val-d’Or. His 50-spot led the QMJHL in goals but there are some who believe he can’t bring that kind of production to the next level.
His offensive game goes unquestioned (hey, 50 goals will do that) but questions have been raised about his eagerness. The offensive numbers and talk about how good his shot is are hard to ignore. Are the questions about the “fire in his game” enough to keep him down in the first-round? Stranger things have happened (remember Zach Parise‘s slide to 17th overall in 2003?) but one stinging critique of his game has seen him compared to Benoit Pouliot.
“Love him when he has the puck on his stick. I’m not his biggest fan when he doesn’t. Looks like a boom or bust guy to me.” — Mark Edwards – HockeyProspect.com
“Big stud that can skate, hard to handle, can dominate. Long stride, soft hands, not physical, great feel, didn’t do enough in Halifax, needs to be WAY more physical.” — Mark Seidel – North American Central Scouting
“He’s a big kid with a lot of skill. He has everything you need to succeed — he can skate, he’s smart, he reads the play, he has everything. He might need to work on his defensive game, but he can be taught that. You can’t teach talent like he has, or hands like he has.” — Chris Bordeleau – NHL Central Scouting
ESPN's Grant Sonier on Mantha:
Size and speed is a palatable combination for every team in the league, and that is just part of what this rangy winger brings to the table. He scored 50 goals this year and while there were times when he played sleepy, I believe there is a team out there with their fingers crossed he falls to them in the middle of the first round. His upside is tremendous and he has only begun to start to physically develop.
Sportsline's Chris Peters on Mantha:
17. Anthony Mantha - RW – Val d’Or (QMJHL) - 6-4, 190 - PR: 20
Mantha opened a lot of eyes this season by scoring 50 goals. He was already on a lot of radars at his size and ability to power through opposing defenders to create offense. However, his 50-goal outburst really turned up the heat on his stock. Mantha doesn’t wow you with skill, but he knows how to get to the net and score and that’s obviously a key attribute.
Update #9: Here's RedWingsCentral on Mantha:
His bullet shot and lightning-fast release makes him a pure goal-scorer … Extremely smart in terms of his positioning and his ability to get into the right place at the right time … Extremely dangerous on the power play … Soft hands and impressive reach make him very difficult to handle defensively … Compared by TSN scout and former NHL general manager Craig Button to James Neal … Takes criticism well and is eager to learn and improve.
Knocked (sometimes in very harsh manners) in pre-draft scouting reports for lacking consistency and intensity … Game is weighted toward offense and it will need to become more well-rounded as he moves up the ranks … Not physical despite his sizeable 6-foot-4 frame … Top line goal-scorer or bust.
The Red Wings went for a home run with Mantha, who is blessed with tremendous size and hands and was one of the most prolific goal-scorers available in the entire 2013 draft. There’s no question Mantha can score goals in junior and he projects as a top-line NHLer, but he’ll spend the 2013-14 campaign in the QMJHL improving his all-around game and shaking off knocks on his intensity level and competitiveness. As a late birthdate, he’ll be eligible to play in the AHL in 2014-15.
A bit more on Mantha from Bob McKenzie:
"He got high marks from scouts for his hockey sense. He’s an off-the-charts shooter. His 50 goals with Val d’Or this season is certainly evidence of that." - Bob McKenzie
Sportsnet's Patrick King on Mantha:
Who is Anthony Mantha?
Mantha received the tutelage of a Stanley Cup winner in his grandfather, and he often credits the relationship formed with Pronovost for part of his success. Mantha displays the soft hands around the goal that made him a dangerous marksman in junior. He had five hat tricks this season and vastly improved his goal total from 22 as a rookie to 50. He was a bit of a late-bloomer, but after missing the cutoff date for the 2012 drafty by a day, he’s considered a first-round talent in a deep draft class. His 50 goals were tops in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and tied for second-most in the Canadian Hockey League this season.
Anthony Mantha’s scouting report:
Mantha is a pure scorer with soft hands and a nose for the net. Although big at six-foot-four and 190 pounds, Mantha is more of a finesse player. He finds the openings in the defence and has the quick release and scorer’s instincts to finish his chances. Mantha anticipates plays well and is an effective playmaker, but his forte is his goal scoring. The drawbacks to his game are his defence and lack of physical play and intensity. Many believe he falls in the “boom or bust” category.
Scout’s take: “Mantha is a big kid with a ton of physical maturation left and a very projectable frame,” says Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. “He has a smooth skill set for a big man and is a very good shooter. He never seems to dominate on the ice but always finds himself in great scoring areas and he doesn’t miss very often. He does not play physically, something that often shocks you when you go to watch him play.”
“He’s got a great shot and he doesn’t need much time or space to release it,” says David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “He’s got good size, but he’s a bit gangly and he needs to work on his lower-body strength a little bit. He’s not a great skater and he certainly needs to work on that. The other aspect of his game is he’s got to be more involved. He’s prone to not just taking shifts, but periods and nights off.
“At the end of the day,” Burstyn concludes, “he’s got a premium and that is that he can score goals. That might be hard for teams to overlook. You take a team like Calgary that has three first-rounders — maybe they take a chance on this guy.”
SI's Allan Muir had Mantha going 13th overall to Winnipeg:
13. Anthony Mantha
RW TEAM: Val D'Or Foreurs - QMJHL
BORN: Longueuil, QC, CANADA
AGE: 18HT: 6-4WT: 190
The only 50-goal scorer among draft-eligible players, Mantha hasn't completely won over scouts. "There's a bit of Eric Daze in his game," said one, echoing the concerns of others who have questioned Mantha's work ethic. "Some nights there's just no intensity. Not as often [as last season], but you're still left wondering how bad he wants it." No questions about his talent. He's "toolsy," an ideal mix of size, quickness, on-ice vision and a great shot that made him the QMJHL's top goal-scorer. Despite his big build, he's not particularly physical. He relies on a nasty wrister and heavy slapper to do most of his damage from outside the hashmarks. "He's a natural, a terrific shooter with a deceptive release," a scout said. "He'll put it on the net from anywhere on the ice. He's a volume shooter." He also seems to have worked on other elements of his game that came under fire. "He's more engaged along the boards and in his defensive responsibilities," the same scout said. "He has to keep working on these things and he needs to develop an inside game. He's got to make it a priority to get to the middle of the ice. If he does, he can be a premier scorer." Winnipeg needs some touch. With the proper coaching, Mantha could be a steal.
Ditto for the National Post's Andrew Robichaud:
13. Winnipeg | Anthony Mantha, RW, Val d’Or (QMJHL)
NHLCS rank: NA10
ISS rank: 24
The Jets have a handful of forwards very similar to Mantha in size and skill. He knows how to find the net — scored 50 goals in 2013 — and should add another dimension to a developing offence. — AR
Update #13: Bob Duff's first to the punch with a Wings reaction to snagging Mantha:
“Obviously, it’s going to be a few years from now, but we’re real excited to get him where we picked him,” Detroit head scout Joe McDonnell said of Mantha, the 6-4, 190-pound forward from the QMJHL’s Val d’Or Foreurs they tabbed with the 20th pick of Sunday’s NHL entry draft.
Mantha’s 50-39-89 totals in 67 games this season placed him in a tie for second in goals scored among CHL players.
“It’s an offensive game,” Mantha said of his style of play. “Scoring goals and being on the power play are my assets.”
While he doesn’t play a physical game, Mantha still displays a nose for the net.
“His skill level is real good,” McDonnell said. “He’s got a great shot and he just seems to find the open ice in the offensive end. He just seems to find a way to hit the net. And with his size to go along with those things, he was a real intriguing package for us.”
Mantha believes his quick release is the key to his offensive prowess.
“I think it’s really the precision I put into my shot,” Mantha said. “It’s not necessarily the force that you put, but more the precision.”
“He was a guy we had targeted a lot higher, so we lucked out on that for sure,” McDonnell said. “We had it narrowed down to three names and would have been ecstatic with any of the three names. As soon as we got to the point where we knew we were going to get one of them, in was a no-brainer (to trade down). And then we ended up getting the guy we really wanted in the end.”
Mantha also can draw upon Red Wings bloodlines. His grandfather Andre Pronovost was a left-winger who won four Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens and played with the Wings from 1962-65, skating in two Stanley Cup finals with Detroit.
“My family helped me,” Mantha said. “My father and grandfather were always on the ice with me when I was younger. They helped me out the whole way.”
The Free Press's Helene St. James penned a longer article about Mantha...
“He was a guy we had targeted a lot higher,” McDonnell said, “so we lucked out on that one, for sure. Obviously it’s going to be a few years, but we were just real excited to get him where we picked him.”
The Wings got Mantha with the 20th pick, trading down at the last minute by exchanging their 18th overall pick in exchange for San Jose’s picks at 20 and 58, giving Detroit an extra pick in the second round. Mantha, meanwhile, was giddy to hear his name after sitting through two hours at Prudential Center. After talking about his family connection, Mantha sounded impatient to make his NHL debut, saying he’d like to try for a spot next season.
That is not likely to happen but down the road, Mantha could be an impact player. His strength is his offensive game, specifically, he said, “scoring goals. The power play is my asset.”
The inside scoop on Mantha is that he’s a good skater with great puck awareness and a shot that’s incredibly accurate and quick. Witness his 2012-13 season with Val-d’Or: 50 goals and 39 assists in 67 games. That, plus his size, was why the Wings were so delighted.
“He’s got a great shot,” McDonnell said. “And he just seems to find the open ice. With his size to go along with those things, it was a real intriguing package for us. He’s on the skinny side right now, but we’ll see his work ethic and he’ll get bigger eventually.”
Mantha will be at the Wings’ development camp later this month, where he’ll mingle with previous draft picks.
Scouts have raved about Mantha’s accuracy, describing him as “one of those guys who just finds a way to sneak it through,” McDonnell said. “His accuracy is excellent.”
Mantha may want to challenge for a spot, but the Wings’ plans call for Mantha to spend next season back with Val-d’Or, then bring him to Grand Rapids the following year. Maybe at that time, he’ll push for a spot in Detroit. He’s got the size and the skill, mixed with some good family genes, to make it happen.
As well as a video...
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose filed an article about Mantha, too:
“We had it narrowed down to three names, would have been ecstatic with any of the three names we had, and as soon as we got to that point we knew we were going to get one of them, so it was a no-brainer really for us,” McDonnell said, of the trade. “And then we ended up getting the guy we really wanted in the end.”
Mantha is the only 50-goal scorer in this year’s draft. He led the QMJHL and tied for second in the Canadian Hockey League with 50 goals in 67 games. His offensive game, particularly his accurate shot, is often described as extraordinary by coaches and scouts.
“He’s just one of those guys that seems to find a way to hit the net, find a way to sneak to the goalies,” McDonnell said. “His accuracy is excellent.”
Mantha agreed, saying, “I think it’s really the precision that I put into my shot. It’s not necessarily the force that you put, but more of the precision.”
It was no secret that the Wings coveted a trade that would have them move down and add depth to the system. Since 2000, Detroit has gone without a first-round pick in eight years, including 2009, 2011 and 2012. Heading into Sunday’s first-round, the Red Wings’ philosophy was to land a big, physical forward, and the selection of Mantha, who is 6-foot-4 and 190-pounds, certainly appears to give them that big offensive force that can provide long-term health of the franchise.
“His skill level is real good,” McDonnell said. “He's got a great shot and he just seems to find the open ice in the offensive end. And with his size to go along with those things it was a real intriguing package for us.”
“It’s really an honor,” said the 18-year-old Mantha. “Words really can’t come, but it’s just being there and showing them what I’m able to do. It’s just something that’s great for me.”
Mantha, of Longueuil, Quebec, isn’t short on confidence, and believes that he will be ready to compete for a roster spot with the Red Wings in the fall.
“My approach is really to make the big team next year, if not, in the next two years,” Mantha said. “I will show them everything that I can to be there without having to go to the minors.”
Update #15: WXYZ posted a video about Mantha:
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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.