The QMJHL season is only a little more than a week old, but Detroit Red Wings 2013 first round draft pick Anthony Mantha has wasted no time picking up where he left off last season. Through five games, Mantha has eight goals and fourteen points for the Val d’Or Foreurs. Last season Mantha scored 50 goals and had 50 goals and 89 points in 67 games, leading the league in scoring and ranking 10th overall in points. The Red Wings selected him 20th overall this summer, believing him to be the scoring forward they were looking for.
Mantha was part of a team of Red Wings prospects that won the 2013 Traverse City Prospects Tournament, the first win for the host team in the tournament’s 16 years. Mantha had two goals in a 4-2 win over a team of Buffalo Sabres prospects in the championship game. He also got to play in a preseason game for the Wings, playing on a line with Jordin Tootoo and Calle Jarnkrok against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was one of the first players sent back to juniors, but the team will no doubt be keeping a very close eye on him this season. The Red Wings have a history of not rushing their prospects, and while Mantha has a lot of maturing and adjusting yet to do before he’s ready for the top level, he is showing that he has the raw talent to be a 20-goal scorer someday. In all likelihood, Mantha will play out at least this season and possibly the next in juniors before heading to the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins. If he stays on his current scoring pace, he could easily lead the QMJHL in scoring again, which could make the decision to turn professional easier.
In addition to Mantha, the Red Wings have top prospects Tomas Jurco, Martin Frk and Teemu Pulkkinen playing on the wing at the AHL level. Scoring has been an issue for the team at times the past few seasons, but the future looks bright with players of this caliber in the pipeline.