Anthony Mantha is ripping up the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League right now.
For an organization that hasn’t had a lot to celebrate to this point in the season Mantha’s play has been a source of optimism for the future of the Red Wings’ franchise.
The Wings’ 20th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has 35 goals, 38 assists, for 73 points in 32 games with the Val d’or Foreurs.
The prospect of a pure goal scorer in the pipeline is a comforting notion especially when you consider Detroit’s top two point producers are in their mid-thirties.
Detroit clearly has high hopes for the Longueil Quebec native after signing him to a 3-year entry-level contract in October. With his combination of size, speed, and skill Mantha has been compared to the likes of James Neal, Max Pacioretty, and Thomas Vanek.
That’s big praise for a 19-year-old, but at least at the junior level the Quebecer is living up to the hype. Whether his play will drop off once he joins the professional ranks is a question that will only be answered in time.
At the moment the knock on Mantha continues to be his lack of consistency from game to game. He is a streaky scorer who can Harry Houdini himself for long stretches.
But, with that being said, he’s still a very young player with huge upside. If you want to see just how much upside, his talent will be on full display when he takes to the ice at the World Junior Hockey Championships starting tomorrow in Sweden.
Mantha is expected to be a key contributor for a Canadian squad that boasts other big names like Connor McDavid and Jonathan Druin.
For the last two decades Detroit’s success has been built on finding late round gems in the draft, but in Mantha the Wings may have finally hit a home run with their first round pick.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen this scenario play out in Hockeytown.
How long? Well, ask yourself this: when was the last time the Wings had a prospect leading the Canadian Hockey League in scoring?
Steve Yzerman didn’t even do that.
Update: Mantha scored 3 goals in Canada’s 7-2 opening round victory over Germany.