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Wings’ first-rounder Mantha says it’s NHL or bust this season

Jul 31, 2013, 2:45 PM EDT


Anthony Mantha knows he’s a longshot to make Detroit’s roster this fall.

That said, he also knows the National Hockey League is the only place he wants to be.

“For sure it is,” Mantha told, when asked if his mentality was NHL or bust for 2013-14. “If you go around the room and ask every player, I’m not sure there’s one that will tell you that’s not their goal.”

Taken 20th overall at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Mantha is something of a rarity for Detroit. He’s the organization’s first top-20 pick since Jakub Kindl was taken No. 19 overall in 2005, and the first QMJHL skater the club has taken in the first round since Jiri Fischer (Hull Olympiques, 25th overall) in 1998.

At 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, he has good size. He’s also coming off a season in which he led the Quebec league in goals (50). Those two things are probably big reasons why he’s exuding confidence heading into his first professional training camp this September.

“I score lots of goals,” he said. “I’m a good (penalty killer) and power-play guy.”

Of course, history is not on Mantha’s side.

The Red Wings rarely rush draftees to the NHL, preferring to season them at the junior/AHL levels for a few years before making the jump. According to MLive, The last time a first-round pick played for the Red Wings the season he was drafted was 1991-92 — Martin Lapointe, taken 10th overall at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.

Lapointe only played four games that season.

  1. snipedanglecelly13 - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    I can’t wait to see him play in the NHL! He’s gonna be sweet.

  2. mclovinhockey - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Fell like it will be a bust. Great player, great potential but the wings are deep this year. Hope he finds his way to the team though

    • barby97 - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      this guy is expecting alot, great that he has self confidence but i think hes not gonna last long if he jumps right away, he needs to have the lower league experience to get him a little closer to the NHL playing style and speed.

  3. tmoore4075 - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Good luck kid. Wings currently have 16 forwards, well once Nyquist and Andersson are signed, and need to trade at least 1 (likely 2) to get under the 23 man limit. He seems to have a lot of potential and great confidence but it ain’t happening this year.

  4. sergeikremlin - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Great mentality, but as the article touched on, this isn’t an organization that rushes prospects. Mantha would have to force the coaches not to cut him. Chances are back to the Q, World Jrs, and he’ll be part of the recently-crowned champs of the AHL, Grand Rapids, before the NHL.

  5. 19to77 - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    The Wings are always a deep organization. Right now, they’re even more so than usual. And they rarely ever play a guy without a bit of seasoning in lower leagues first.

    He’ll probably have to settle for not making the team right away. It’s no bad thing to have motivation and confidence, though. He’ll make it in time.

  6. hammerhead5573 - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Im a Hawks fan but love the Wings and will miss them being in the west. I hope this kid truly gives it his all and does not become a problem in the locker room in the minors if he does not make it. I hope the best for him and the Wings

  7. zachammer69 - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Hell he couldn’t be any less useless than Samuelsson

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