Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Discussing Anthony Mantha's Contract

11/04/2020 at 8:27am EST

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The contract takes the 26-year-old Mantha two years into free agency, which is good, but it also avoids locking the Wings into an exorbitant deal, which is even better. It was only last month that Yzerman extricated the team from one such fiasco, Justin Abdelkader's deal.

The $5.7 million annual average value, or salary cap hit, recognizes that Mantha is a key rebuilding block, but keeps the hit below Dylan Larkin’s $6.1 million AAV. Four years says Yzerman believes in Mantha, but there’s room to grow. Tyler Bertuzzi, who, like Mantha, was a restricted free agent, probably could have had similar term, but that was a gamble Bertuzzi took, and lost, when he filed for arbitration. Bertuzzi wound up with one year at $3.5 million.

Bertuzzi and Mantha were Yzerman’s biggest RFAs this offseason, and their combined AAV adds up to $9.2 million.

Larkin, who was signed by former GM Ken Holland for five years, $30.5 million in 2018, and Mantha are locked up through 2022-23 for a combined $11.8 million cap hit. Considering the uncertainty wrought by the novel coronavirus pandemic regarding the future growth of the salary cap, that’s a nice number that won’t get the Wings into cap trouble.

Four years is a good deal for Mantha, too. He could have gone for a one-year deal under the guise of trying to boost his value, but the risk in doing so increased as the start of the 2021 season kept shrinking the length of the season.

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