I’m willing to bet the name Anthony Mantha doesn’t sound too familiar does it?
Don’t worry, I didn’t know about him until this season either.
Make no mistake about it, Anthony Mantha is an impressive physical specimen. He’s already standing at six-foot four inches, and has potential to bulk up to the 210-220 lb range. If David Poile was thinking about trading back to acquire more picks, this might be a guy who is on their radar big time. He has the booming shot, both the wrister and the slapper. He’s averages a little more than a point per game, and this is the best part…he scores goals. He had 50 of them this year, from where he either drives to the net and slides it in or he is standing right in front of the net for the rebound. Mantha just finds the puck, in a very similar way as Cory Conacher.
The other part of his game that David Poile and Barry Trotz are sure to love? He hits people, hard. Almost in a way similar to former Predator Scotty Hartnell. Anthony Mantha is the prototypical Power Forward that everybody is looking for, and he goes hard every single night in a way similar to Colin Wilson. The problem with Power Forwards is most times they take longer to develop, with the rare exception like Gabriel Landeskog. Look at Colin Wilson, drafted in 2008 and he just had his big breakout season in the pros in 2013. If I had to say there was a one downside to this prospect, that would be it. This Winger is only at 190 lbs right now, which tells me he’s going to have to get bigger to play in the NHL as a Power Forward.
That being said, the Predators have no trouble taking their time developing forwards. If they get the right deal (and it would have to be pretty impressive) then I could see them going after Mantha. But you’re talking about a deal that has to blow people away, and the only two teams I can see being able to swing that are the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Calgary Flames. I don’t see David Poile letting that pick go for anything more than two first rounders in return, just because the Predators are guaranteed a player who can come in and contribute right away. To be fair, you could probably mark Calgary off that list, I doubt they will jump up two spots and give up another first just to do so.
So getting that part out-of-the-way, we now know that the drafting of Mantha to the Predators is highly unlikely. But mark my words, this could be a kid to watch for years to come. There is a reason power forwards are so popular in hockey, and that reason is because they can play an all around game. If you want to see teams who are successful, look at the ones with power forwards. Boston, Anaheim, and…*sigh* Detroit. Now without further hesitation, here is the highlight tape for Mr. Mantha. Enjoy!