MLive’s Ansar Khan examines the possible 2018-19 campaign of Anthony Mantha this morning:
2018-19 outlook: A prolific goal-scorer in the junior ranks, Mantha is quickly learning what it takes to score in the NHL, with 17 and 24 goals in his first two seasons. He has learned to use his big frame to protect the puck and cycle more, instead of looking to shoot off the rush. Despite the team’s poor power play (27th in the NHL), Mantha has adjusted to a net-front role, scoring nine power-play goals after netting just one as a rookie.
Mantha occasionally drew criticism from coach Jeff Blashill for lapses in competitiveness and not moving his feet. They had what was described as a heart-to-heart talk prior to a game in New Jersey on Jan. 22 that both said was productive.
Mantha is driven to improve. He planned on doing some power skating in the off-season. He also wanted to take boxing lessons, not to fight more but to be grittier.
Quotable: “He had a good year, we need him to take a step, he’s got that potential, that ability. Once you play 100 games you get a good idea what this league is all about. He’s got a good idea what he needs to do in the summer to take his game to another level.” – general manager Ken Holland.
Key question: Can Mantha become the first Red Wing to score 30 goals in 10 years (Marian Hossa 40, Johan Franzen 34, Pavel Datsyuk 32, Henrik Zetterberg 31 in 2008-09)?