Washington Capitals Player Preview: Anthony Mantha enters his first full season with Caps
Since we have gone in number order, it is time that we discuss one of the newest Washington Capitals, Anthony Mantha. In training camp Mantha has been on the Capitals top line playing with Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Alex Ovechkin. Obviously, there is a lot of expectation for Mantha to play well in his first full season with the team.
Last year Mantha spent 42 games of the 56 game season with the Detroit Red Wings before being traded to Washington for Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first round pick, and a 2022 second round pick. In that time in Detroit he had 11 goals, 10 assists, to add up to 21 total points. He also had a plus/minus of -14, which considering how the Red Wing’s season went last year, is not terrible.
Once that blockbuster, and maybe a little over the top trade was complete, Mantha made his way to Washington for the last 14 games of the season and the playoff push. He made an immediate impact and looked to be worth all that was given up when he had three points in his debut against the Philadelphia Flyers and five points in his first four games with the team. After that, Mantha only had three points over the next 10 games, ending the season with 8 points with the Caps and 29 overall, and a 15 goal season.
Then came the playoffs and Mantha had two assists in five games. This was an underwhelming performance but none of the Caps top players performed vs Boston so you can’t really blame him. It was also his first career playoff appearance.
But, enough about last year, this is the player preview anyways. Mantha is entering his 7th NHL season at 27 years old. Since entering the league in 2015-2016 his production has improved every year except for a dip last year. In 43 games in the 2019-2020 shortened Covid season he had 38 points. That is .88 points per game which is his highest in all his seasons in the league.
After joining a much more talented Caps roster Mantha should be expected to keep that trend going. Washington gave up a lot to get him around the trade deadline and I expect Mantha to rise to the occasion this season. He is most likely playing on the Caps top line and as Backstrom, Kuznetsov, and Tom Wilson all know, playing with Ovechkin just makes you better.
This year should be the emergence of Anthony Mantha as one of the top players one the Caps this year. It should also show that the Caps did not give up to much for him at last years trade deadline.