Detroit Red Wings senior vice president Jim Devellano called the play of top prospect Anthony Mantha, “very disappointing,” and said the team had such high hopes for the big winger. The comments come as somewhat of a surprise, especially considering some had thought Mantha may make the Red Wings out of training camp before a broken leg sidelined him for nearly two months.
In his first season of professional hockey, Detroit Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha scored 15 goals and 33 points with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, and that’s after suffering a broken leg in training camp and missing nearly two months. As great as Mantha’s season may seem, however, Detroit senior vice president Jim Devellano isn’t happy with what he’s seen.
“Very, very, very disappointing,” Devellano told Fox Sports’ Keith Gave. “And I say that with a lot of sadness. Coming out of junior, we had such high hopes for him.”
The comments came after the Griffins completed a comeback from a 2-0 series deficit to take the five-game first-round series over the Toronto Marlies with a 3-1 victory Sunday evening. They’ve been the cause of some confusion, though, because before the season had begun, it appeared as though Mantha was going to make the Detroit roster. It was the broken leg which sidelined him and put a damper on those hopes.
Gave noted that Devellano took in the final three games of the Griffins’ first-round series, the three contests which the Detroit affiliate won. However, in the three victories, Mantha managed just three shots on goal and, for what it’s worth, had a plus-minus rating of +1.
Mantha, 20, was selected 20th overall by the Red Wings in the 2013 draft and is one season removed from a 57-goal, 120-point QMJHL campaign in which he averaged a goal per game and played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. A big bodied winger that stands 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, Mantha has suited up for all five post-season games for the Griffins, but has only registered one assist. His single point came in Grand Rapids’ 7-4 Game 1 loss.
As part of The Hockey News’ annual Future Watch issue, Mantha was the sixth ranked prospect, up from No. 10 in the 2014 edition. In Future Watch, he was the top ranked prospect in the Detroit system, ahead of other notable players such as Dylan Larkin, Teemu Pulkkinen and Xavier Ouellet.
Mantha’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors throughout the year, most notably in discussions between Toronto and Detroit regarding Maple Leafs blueliner Dion Phaneuf. It was reported that the Red Wings were hesitant to pull the trigger on any deal involving Mantha.