It might be startling to some, but Nielsen has contributed more to his team offensively than Mantha, who led the Red Wings last year in points-per-game percentages. Mantha was expected to be one of Detroit’s top offensive threats for the coming years. Lately, he’s played far below his potential. Mantha is an electric, dynamic forward with a penchant for scoring. Unfortunately, the offence appears to have dried up. The Red Wings need more from him if they hope to remain a consistent offensive threat this season.
Mantha’s Performance So Far
As of March 1st, Mantha has nine points in 23 games. With his level of offensive ability and his knack for finding the back of the net, he should be scoring at a much higher clip. Fortunately, advanced stats can often fill in the blanks. Evolving Hockey’s model shows a lot of bad luck on Mantha’s part. While he’s not scoring, it’s not for lack of trying offensively. In fact, his Corsi percentages show that he’s generating a significant amount of offence whenever he’s on the ice. Having said that, his defensive numbers tell a very different story.
Mantha is adept offensively, but isn’t putting in that same effort on the backend. The fanbase will often critique Mantha for his apparent lack of effort when he doesn’t have the puck. At times, it can seem like Mantha doesn’t put in the effort where it’s most needed. Take February 28th’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, for example. Mantha appeared to be going through the motions on many of his shifts, floating around and waiting for opportunity to arise. He’s a wildly talented player, but he needs to put in the full 110 percent game in and game out.
Anthony Mantha Moving Forward
The Red Wings rely on Mantha for a large chunk of their offence. Last season, he spent the majority of his time playing alongside Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi. With both currently injured, Mantha will need to generate consistent offence on his own. If he can build chemistry with either Bobby Ryan or Filip Zadina, the points will come. Ensuring that he plays his heart out every minute of the game will be tantamount to his success for the coming years.
Ultimately, Mantha’s current cold streak shouldn’t be cause for concern just yet — but it’s something every fan should keep their eyes on. After all, it isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility that Mantha is traded in the future. Whether or not Steve Yzerman decides to trade Mantha, he’ll need the forward to be at his best for the remainder of the season. Time will tell how it plays out — but it doesn’t make Mantha’s role on this team any less significant.