For some reason things just don’t work out in sports. What I mean by that is, sometimes teams acquire a good player and that good player just does not play very well in that city. Like, Anthony Mantha right now for the Washington Capitals.
Mantha might always be behind an 8-ball a little bit. At the end of the day you have to remember he was traded for Jakub Vrana, a guy a lot of Caps fans loved. When you trade a guy fans love there will be a lot of fans who will choose to never get over it. You still have Caps fans grumbling over the Filip Forsberg trade. Even though if the Caps keep him, who knows if they go out and get T.J. Oshie, another beloved Capitals player.
My point there being, if you change one thing, you have to change everything. If they keep Forsberg you might lose Oshie, you might win a Cup sooner, or you might not have won one at all. Move on!
But this is the situation Mantha finds himself in. With the exception of his start in Washington, where he scored a goal in each of his first four games with the club, he’s struggled. He’s a player that has scored over twenty goals in a season multiple times. Right now, in well over one hundred games played in Washington he has just over twenty goals scored total. He has 24 goals scored in 118 games played.
I’m not going to assume why, I’m not going to guess why his game and his potential stats have not followed him to D.C. But it has not worked in Washington.
He still has a chance though. But in my opinion, it has to happen early on in this upcoming season.
Mantha has to come out and have a good start to the new season. What does a good start mean? That could be up for debate. Some will say a good start would be 3 goals in the first five games, or 7 goals in the first ten.
I don’t need dominant to start the year. I just need little “monkey off the back” kind of stats. Get one goal within your first four or five games. The longer it takes for that first goal to come, the more the pressure builds.
You have a new coaching staff, that can kind of give you a new life feeling. If it takes someone longer to get that first goal, you might start to squeeze the stick and get that “here we go again” kind of feel.
If he doesn’t get a goal in the first five games, and a couple goals in the first ten games it could be another tough season for Mantha in Washington.
How often do you see a guy struggle in a situation, he or she stays in that place for multiple seasons and, three or three and a half years later, it clicks?
If Mantha doesn’t have a good start to the year, meaning October and early November, I don’t like the odds of him having a good season. I don’t like the odds of him recovering in late November and December if he comes out slow. It’s a new coaching staff. This team badly underachieved last season, they had a bad start last season, they should want to explode out of the gates. If Mantha doesn’t play well at the start, what makes us think he’ll figure it out later in the season?
Again, he doesn’t need to come out of the gates on fire. Just score a couple of goals, which is his biggest strength. Be more involved in the play. Be more clinical in the finishing.
Mantha had 117 individual scoring chances while 5v5 last season. That was fourth best on the team. That was better than Evgeny Kuznetsov who had 100 chances and he played in more games than Mantha. Fourteen more games to be exact. So it’s not for the lack of chances, he just needs to finish more of them. Be more clinical.
It’s a big season for Anthony Mantha. This season will tell us if he has a future in Washington or not. The very beginning of the season may give us that answer early.