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Red Wings prospect news: Mantha hits 100 points; Griffins, Walleye mired in losing streaks

Scoring 100 points in the QMJHL is most certainly not equivalent to scoring 100 points in the NHL today, but the QMJHL isn't quite the wild and woolly place where players could sneeze and crack the centrury mark. Today's "Q" reminds me of the NHL in the mid-90's, right before the New Jersey Devils' trap clogged up offenses--when it was normal to see the league's best half-dozen players score 100, 110 or 120 points, but it was still quite special.

As such, Anthony Mantha's status as having registered a goal and an assist in his Val-d'Or Foreurs' 5-2 win over Shawinigan, giving Mantha 49 goals, 51 assists and 100 points registered over the course of 46 games played, isn't world-beating, but it's damn impressive, especially given that Mantha missed the better part of a month of the QMJHL's 68-game season playing at the World Junior Championships.

Mantha's tied for the Q's goal-scoring lead with Quebec Remparts forward and New York Rangers prospect Anthony Duclair, who has 49 goals 44 assists and 93 points, second-most in the Q behind Mantha, but Duclair's also played in 54 games, 8 more than Mantha.

Major Junior hockey is not professional hockey, and as we've seen from Martin Frk and Tomas Jurco, QMJHL scoring stars tend to require a couple years of professional finishing.

Mantha himself will readily admit that he still needs to work on playing a more detail-oriented, defensively sound and consistently competitive game, but there's no reason to assume that the still-lanky 6'5," 204-pound winger has legitimate 30-goal-scoring potential.


In professional hockey, the Red Wings' AHL affiliate is going through a difficult period of time. The Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a 3-0 decision to the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday, having been swept in their 2-game series with San Antonio, and the Griffins have now dropped 5 straight games.

The Griffins' website posited a game recap...

The San Antonio Rampage extended their point streak to a franchise-record 10 games and finished a weekend sweep of the Midwest Division-leading Griffins with a 3-0 whitewash of Grand Rapids on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.

Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves to record San Antonio’s first shutout of the season while Petr Mrazek countered with 22 for the Griffins (30-16-2-3), whose five-game winless streak at home (0-4-0-1) is their longest since a seven-game drought that concluded in December 2010.  

Personally, Mrazek has suffered three straight losses on the heels of a career-high 10-game winning streak. His teammates scored a total of one goal in those three games and have tallied only five goals during the Griffins’ current home skid.

Grand Rapids will try to break out of its recent doldrums next Friday through Sunday when it stages just the ninth three-in-three at home in franchise history, beginning with a visit by the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday at 7 p.m. It will mark the first meeting of the clubs since the Griffins defeated the Barons in seven games in the Western Conference Finals en route to their 2013 Calder Cup championship.

After the teams played a scoreless opening period for the second time in as many nights, a partial breakaway early in the second resulted in a 1-0 lead for the Rampage. John McFarland sped down the left side and took a shot from the doorstep that Mrazek denied, but two defenders were unable to clear the rebound from the slot, allowing Matt Gilroy to pop the puck home at the 1:46 mark.

San Antonio (21-21-3-5) pushed its advantage to two less than six minutes later. With the Griffins struggling to gain possession of the puck in their zone, Bobby Butler sent a feed into the slot to a wide-open Garrett Wilson, whose shot got a piece of Mrazek on the way into the net at 7:29. 

Drew Shore made it a 3-0 game 3:49 into the third with his second goal in as many nights, standing uncontested in front of Mrazek to redirect Butler’s centering pass.

Notes: The Griffins continued to play without the services of Slovakian Olympian Tomas Jurco, Detroit Red Wings callup Luke Glendening, and injured forwards Triston Grant and Jordin Tootoo.

As well as a Flickr photo gallery and a set of game highlights and/or post-game interviews:




In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye are having a difficult season, period, but the losses don't hurt any less when you're out of playoff contention in February. Toledo dropped a 5-2 decision to the Cincinnati Cyclones on Saturday evening, with Jared Coreau sitting the game out, Max Nicastro finishing at -1 with 3 shots taken and Richard Nedomlel finishing even with 3 shots taken.

The Walleye's website provides a recap...

Toledo gave up three third period goals in a 5-2 loss in front of a standing room only crowd of 8,200 at the Huntington Center on Saturday night. Toledo has an overall record of 16-28-3-0 and is 7-17-3-0 on the road.

The Cyclones started the game with a 9-0 shot advantage and they would collect the first goal of the game. Toledo would counter when Max Shalunov ripped a shot over the shoulder of Cincinnati goaltender Scott Darling for his 11th of the season at 12:01 of the period. The Walleye would jump in front when Kevin Lynch ripped in a one-timer at 12:51 for his 8th goal of the year.

“Transition was the name of the game in this one,” said Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “We did a nice of controlling it through two periods, but they got too us in the third.”

Cincinnati would tie the game at 13:28 of the second period when Trevor Lewis beat Mac Carruth with a wrist shot. A turnover in the Toledo zone would set the stage for a three goal third period as Jonathan Hazen put Cincinnati up 3-2 at 5:54. Cyclones would strike for two more to finish the game.

Walleye Notes:  Goaltender Mac Carruth made 27 saves on 32 shots in net for Toledo. Carruth has a record 8-12-0-0 on the season. Toledo is 2-5-1 against the Cyclones this season.

The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe spoke with Walleye coach Nick Vitucci about the team's struggles...

Toledo led Cincinnati in the first period, but too many defensive breakdowns led to the Cyclones scoring the next four goals in a 5-2 loss before a capacity crowd of 8,200 at the Huntington Center to extended Toledo’s losing streak to four games.

Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said his team lost coverage in the neutral zone and that led to odd-man rushes. With the game tied at 2, Cincinnati (28-18-2) scored three goals in the third period.

“I thought we played ourselves back into the game and tipped the ice in our favor,” Vitucci said. “Then in the third period they turned the table on us. They took over the game with their speed and play through the neutral zone. In the third period, they transitioned very well from offense to defense and we didn't.”


Toledo has already lost more games this season then they did all of last season and are in last place in the North Division.

Despite that, it was the sixth sellout of the season.

“This is our job and our livelihood,” [Kevin] Lynch said. “No matter the record we come to the rink everyday to prepare as well as we can. We're motivated. We always think we can win every game.”

And Rachel Lenzi noted that the Walleye's lack of personnel continuity has seriously hurt the team:

Not much has gone right on the ice for the Toledo Walleye this season. The team is mired in last place in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference and has surrendered more goals (170) than any other team in the league.

Nick Vitucci, fifth-year coach and director of hockey operations, has constantly tinkered with the lineup of the Walleye, the ECHL affiliate for the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. General manager and president Joe Napoli has contemplated the possibility of ending the franchise’s dual affiliation after this season.

As a result, the Walleye have stumbled to a 16-27-3 record entering Saturday’s game against Cincinnati, and with 35 points Toledo is second-to-last in the ECHL overall standings entering Friday’s games. Only Las Vegas has fewer points, with 28. When the San Francisco Bulls folded in January, they had 35 points.

“I don’t think I’ve really given Nick an opportunity to succeed,” Napoli said. “The dual affiliation has pluses and its minuses, but if you’re looking at it from a reflective, unvarnished perspective, there are more minuses than pluses. When you’re winning, you see the pluses much more clearly. When you’re losing, the minuses are just that much more apparent.”


“Everybody’s gone,” Vitucci said. “There are three forwards in Grand Rapids who should be here right now. Anybody who’s a hockey fan knows all the injuries the Detroit Red Wings have right now. We’re the bottom of the totem pole. Anytime someone gets called up to Detroit, we lose a guy like Trevor Parkes or we lose Martin Frk or Travis Novak or Alden Hirschfeld, and we lost four of those guys in a phone call a couple weeks ago.”

Even when a rash of players are returned to Toledo, it’s likely not a quick fix.

“I answered a question from a fan once who asked me, ‘well, you got back all these players yesterday, how come you guys didn’t win today?’ ” Vitucci said. “Unfortunately, it’s just not, add water and everything is rosy again. You haven’t had a chance to work on anything, you haven’t had a chance to work on power plays and line changes and whatnot. You need time to do that.”




In Major Junior hockey, in the OHL, Zach Nastasiuk sat out his Owen Sound Attack's 3-1 loss to the Belleville Bulls;

Jake Paterson continues to face an inordinate amount of shots in the Saginaw Spirit's net, so it's not surprising that he stopped 39 of 44 en route to a 6-4 loss against a Tyler Bertuzzi-less Guelph Storm;

The Red Wings' other junior scoring sensation, Andreas Athanasiou, scored a goal as his Barrie Colts defeated Peterborough 2-1. Athanasiou's posted 41 goals, 39 assists and 80 points over the course of 53 games played;

In the WHL, Marc McNulty didn't register a point in the Prince George Cougars' 4-3 OT loss to Kamloops;

And in the BCHL, David Pope registered an assist in the West Kelowna Warriors' 3-2 loss to Vernon.




In NCAA hockey, Ben Marshall had 1 shot and finished at -1 in the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers' 4-1 win over the University of Michigan;

James de Haas finished at -2 in the Clarkson Golden Knights' 6-1 loss to Dartmouth;

And Mike McKee did not play in the Western Michigan University Broncos' 3-0 loss to Colorado College. McKee has only played in 11 of the Broncos' 29 games.

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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.


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