Wings sign Mantha to 4-year deal worth $5.7 million a season
Anthony Mantha: “I’ll have to bring my game to another level and try to help this team win.”
Anthony Mantha is a key element of the Red Wings’ rebuilding plans, so it’s no surprise they made him a deal to keep him in the fold for several years.
Mantha signed a four-year deal on Tuesday, Nov. 3, for a salary cap hit of $5.7 million annually ($22.8 million total value).
Mantha said on www.mlive.com that GM Steve Yzerman’s “signing me to a four-year deal tells me he sees me as part of the future of the team, part of the (group) that’s going to help the team win, and that’s the pressure that comes with it.
“I’ll have to bring my game to another level and try to help this team win.”
The big winger (6-5, 234 pounds) is a goal scorer and overall offensive threat. He had 16 goals and 38 points in 43 games in 2019-20, as he missed 28 games with injuries. His average of 0.88 points per game led Detroit.
Mantha, 26, missed eight games with a knee injury. Then, shortly after he returned, he was sidelined for 20 more games due to a punctured lung when he was slew-footed by Toronto’s Jake Muzzin in a confrontation.
Mantha had scored 25 and 24 goals in the previous two seasons. The club’s top pick in the 2013 draft (20th overall) has appeared in 260 games, collecting 84 goals and 89 assists.
“Obviously, he’s one of our best players,” Yzerman said. “With all of our younger players – and I consider Anthony one of our younger players – we’re trying to build around this group and each contract that we do, we try to make it work within what we’re trying to do. We have a salary cap that we have to deal with – not that that’s an issue for us today, but it potentially could be in the future – so we’re careful in what we do, but our intention is to keep these young players around.”
The big knock on Mantha has always been that he is not fully engaged on a consistent basis. When he is, he’s nearly unstoppable with his size, strength, skating ability and shot. But that’s not true of every game.
He does seem to be improving, particularly when he has played on a potent line centered by Dylan Larkin with Tyler Bertuzzi on the other wing. Both are ultra-competitive every second they’re on the ice, and that seems to be rubbing off on Mantha.
“Obviously, this season is up in the air,” Mantha said. “But usually everyone talks about that magic 30 (goal mark), and I think it’s something that’s reachable for me in the real near future, and that’s the goal I’m set on right now.
“Right now, we’re practicing all those extra little rebound goals around the net, maybe get 3-4 more like that. And if we can get better on the power play, it’s going to bring a lot more goals.”
Larkin’s $6.1 million cap hit is the only one on the team higher than Mantha’s. Bertuzzi recently received a $3.5 million one-year deal via arbitration.
Mantha was a restricted free agent after the final year of a two-year deal worth $3.3 million per.