The Detroit Red Wings went into the 2013 NHL draft with the hopes of landing a big, skilled center with scoring ability. Not only were they able to land a player who fits that description in the first round, but a trade helped them turn their 18th overall pick into the 20th and 58th overall picks. With the 20th pick, the Red Wings selected Anthony Mantha, a center who scored 50 goals for the Val d’Or Foreurs of the QMJHL during the 2012-13 season. Mantha has great size (6-4, 190) and has shown improvement in each of his two seasons with Val d’Or.
His 50 goals were the most of any player in the QMJHL last season, and he also chipped in 39 assists. He managed 22 goals and 51 points in his first season, so the improvement in his sophomore campaign was a great sign. Given the Red Wings history of not rushing their prospects, and the fact that they are pretty well set at the forward positions in Detroit and Grand Rapids (AHL) at the moment, Mantha will likely get at least one more season to develop with Val d’Or.
The Red Wings had a very specific goal with their first round pick, and Mantha definitely seems to fit what they were looking for. The youngster definitely needs to bulk up, and scouting reports suggest he could stand to improve his game on the defensive end, but if he continues to improve over the next few seasons this pick could end up being an absolute steal for the Red Wings.