Player: Anthony Mantha
Drafted By: Detroit Red Wings (20th overall)
Position: Left Wing
Final Central Scout Ranking: No. 10 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 210 lbs
DOB: September 16, 1994 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: QMJHL, Val-d’Or Foreurs
Fifty. That’s how many goals Mantha scored for Val-d’Or last season. He tacked on 39 assists as well for 89 points in 67 games with the Foreurs.
Benefitting from a late birth date, Mantha already has three years of major junior hockey under his belt. Granted, he played only two games during the 2010-11 season, but he has greatly improved from the player that scored 22 goals and had 51 points in 63 games last season.
Mantha also has 13 games of postseason experience to add to his resume and has scored seven goals and accrued 16 points during that time.
Full Scouting Report
The Longueuil, Quebec native has been a goal scorer at the junior level, there is no doubt about that, but scouts wonder when—or if—it will translate to the NHL.
Scouts question his work ethic and feel that his inconsistency is a result of taking nights off every now and then.
“Fifty goals in one QMJHL season is an achievement all on it’s own, but it’s been said numerous times that what Anthony Mantha has in the skills, he lacks in consistency,” writes The Hockey Writers’ Shawn Reznik.
Reznik continues: “Some nights he’ll easily be far and away the best player on the ice, but other nights scouts have mentioned that he was almost invisible – which is pretty difficult to do when you’re 6’4″, 210 lbs. Nonetheless, his mix of strength, size, and skill is unmatched in this draft class.”
Scouts rave about his skating ability, puck awareness and heavy wrist shot that he can fire off at a moment’s notice, however, indicating he has the tools to be a volume scorer at the game’s highest level.
“[His] skating ability, combined with his 6'4" frame, makes him an intriguing physical package,” writes Cory Pronman of Hockey Prospectus. “He does possess some skill, but he is more of a good thinker than a fancy puck handler. He can slow the game down, and he exhibits good calmness, often finding the right plays to make with the puck.”
In short, he has the tools; he just needs to give the same effort every game.
NHL Player Comparison
Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres. Both players have good size and incredible offensive skill but have struggled with consistency at times.
Although he scored 50 goals last season, Mantha will probably need another year in junior. Teams want him to show that he can give a good effort every night and will be productive throughout an 82-game season. Expect to see him in the 2014-15 season at the earliest.
If Mantha can find that consistency, he has the potential to be one of the elite goal scorers in the game. If not, he will either have to transform his game or he'll find himself out of the league in a few years.