Anthony Mantha of the Detroit Red Wings could be traded before the trade deadline on April 12th at 3 pm ET. An anonymous NHL executive recently told The Athletic “I wouldn’t be shocked if (Yzerman) moved one of his top young forwards. I think he’s listening to a lot of things.” This means either Mantha or Tyler Bertuzzi.
Bertuzzi has not played since being injured in a game against the Florida Panthers on January 30th. The extent of the injury has not been disclosed. In fact, he has also not skated with the team since the injury. Bertuzzi scored a powerplay goal two days before his injury. The Red Wings then went on a cold streak, to say the least, not scoring a power-play goal in their next 41 attempts.
Mantha is a 26-year-old winger who is immensely talented. The team could accelerate their rebuild by trading him to another team in exchange for either a player or draft picks. Who are some players the Red Wings could get in return for the 6’5” winger from Quebec?
Why Would the Red Wings Trade Anthony Mantha?
At 26-years-old, Anthony Mantha just signed a contract for four years and $22.8 million. The salary cap hit for the contract is $5 million. The NHL’s salary cap is a tool used to make sure that every team in the league has the same amount of money to pay players. What each individual team does with this salary cap money, $81.5 million for the 2020-2021 season, is up to them.
Mantha has a reputation of “floating” or not giving 100% effort while on the ice. He is having a down season thus far with the Red Wings. Through 28 games played, Mantha has scored eight goals and six assists. In the 2018-2019 Mantha scored his career high 25 goals in 67 games played. As with any athlete, injuries have hindered Mantha from getting back to this scoring rate.
Why would the Red Wings be willing to move on from such a talented player, other than to accelerate their rebuild? Mantha’s perception on the ice might have something to do with that. As with all players in professional sports, the more talented a player is, the more that player is able to get away with. The team that gets Mantha must think that they can get him to play up to his talent level.
The head coach of the Red Wings, Jeff Blashill, has healthy-scratched Mantha after he was perceived to be not giving full effort on the ice. After Mantha did not play against the Panthers, Blashill was quoted as saying “I just made a decision to go with the group I went with.” This was not exactly a ringing endorsement of the 26-year-old.
Mantha has had injuries of varying magnitudes during his tenure with the Red Wings. He had a punctured lung after being “slew-footed” by Jake Muzzin of the Toronto Maple Leafs in December of 2019. Far less serious than the punctured lung is the pair of times that he has broken a hand fighting an opponent. One of these fights happened because he was defending a teammate, Madison Bowey, who had been hit by…you guessed it, Muzzin. Mantha also fought Wayne Simmonds in a fight 53 seconds into a game in February of 2019. This was in retribution for Mantha’s cross-check on Claude Giroux, the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The main position the Red Wings front office needs to address is that of goalie. There are seven goaltenders in the Red Wings system right now. According to some, none of these goaltending prospects are seen as the “goalie of the future.” The team is going to have to answer this question in either an upcoming NHL draft or by acquiring a goaltender from another team.
Jonathan Bernier was injured during the team’s recent game against the Dallas Stars. That leaves Thomas Greiss, who has a record of 2-12-4, as the starter for the Red Wings. Calvin Pickard has been recalled from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins for now under emergency conditions. Prior to the Bernier injury, the team was on a two-game winning streak. It might be wise for the Red Wings to use the draft pick they might acquire for Mantha to draft a goalie.
Whether or not Anthony Mantha will be traded remains to be seen. If so, the return for the 26-year-old to the Red Wings could accelerate their rebuild. The trade deadline is on April 12th at 3 PM ET.