The Washington Capitals Have Failed Anthony Mantha

Anthony Mantha, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Anthony Mantha, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Anthony Mantha has not had a good run in Washington D.C. His Washington Capitals career started great, but since then it has been nothing but a downward trend. It is now at the point where I don’t think it is possible to keep going down. Mantha is basically at rock bottom and it will likely be very hard to climb his way back up.

We’re not going to go into too much detail about what has happened with Mantha during his time as a member of the Capitals. If you’re reading this you likely know most of what he’s been through. Bottom line, he has not contributed offensively like many were expecting or hoping, and you also have to note a long term injury in there that also didn’t help him.

When you are struggling at something you always try to look at the bright side, right? If you have a bad day you go to bed and hope the next day will be better. It’s no different in sports. If you have a bad game, pick yourself up and try to make it better the next one.

What if you are having some issues at work? Maybe you don’t get along with your boss. Or perhaps you just see things differently. Then one day, your boss leaves, for whatever reason, who cares why. If you felt like maybe you were getting held back by that person, you would probably be pretty hopeful that the next person that will be your boss will help you. You will get along better, that person will help you do your job better and everyone will be happy.

This happens a lot in life, and it happens a ton in sports. I thought this was happening with the Capitals and Anthony Mantha.

Mantha was struggling, the team overall wasn’t very good, mostly last season, and it was time for a change. The Capitals changed their bench boss, aka their coach and people like Mantha have to think, “Ok, new start, new Coach, a little bit of a new lease on life”, and that has not even kind of happened.

Sure, we are early in the season. But the first two games of the season has seen Mantha play on the fourth line (he is not a fourth line player) and the next game saw him in the press box as a healthy scratch.

This new coaching staff has failed Mantha.

Mantha is obviously not blameless here. To anyone thinking we’re saying that this staff hates him and they are putting an obvious fifty goal scorer in the press box out of spite you can go ahead and delete your comment already in progress. If Mantha had a great camp and a great preseason, he’d be playing, no doubt. Clearly the staff didn’t think he had a good enough camp or preseason to warrant anything more than a 4th line opening night and a scratch in the second game.

I didn’t hear anything about him having a bad camp. I didn’t hear much about him looking great either, but there is one big thing here. Mantha is an established NHL player and he has a cap hit of $5.7 million. He has one year left on his deal as well. What’s the harm of giving him the first 8,10 or 12 games in a top six or top nine role? Are there clearly a ton of right wingers who are better than him on this team?

Tom Wilson is. That’s about it. Is T.J. Oshie better? Historically he is. But is he better now? I don’t think that answer is as easy as some fans want to believe. The only difference is Oshie is loved by fans, Mantha isn’t. Is Mantha clearly worse than Matthew Phillips? Phillips obviously had a good camp, and he looked good vs the Flames. He could easily be better. Still unproven though. Is Protas better? He’s had a lot of NHL time. He hasn’t proven to be any better.

All I’m saying here is simply this. It’s not like this roster is stacked and it’s impossible to get in the lineup. The Capitals have chosen young and unproven players, and old and unproven if they can continue to do what they have over a guy who has proven he can do stuff in the NHL, just not with your franchise, and under a different coach.

What would have been the harm to give Mantha the first quarter or 1/8 of the season in a spot to help him succeed? Maybe the new system and staff helps him and you get a great offensive player back. If the team ends up being no good and Mantha does regain some kind of form, maybe you can trade him for some kind of asset at the deadline. If he doesn’t regain his form, fine. Scratch him. Good news, you would have still have 65 or 70 games with the others guys in the lineup.

By doing what this staff has done with Mantha, I can’t imagine him getting anything done with the Capitals now. This staff and now the franchise has basically waived the white flag on this player. It hasn’t worked and it won’t work now.

Barring injury it doesn’t look like Mantha will get a good chance with this new coaching staff. I simply don’t understand why you didn’t even try to get him going early in the season. If it didn’t work then it didn’t work.

But they didn’t even try. Any confidence he had remaining, if he had any to begin with, has to be completely dried up now.

If he did prove that he could play, the staff wasted an opportunity to potentially trade him and they hurt themselves there. And they obviously hurt the player because he should have gotten a good chance with a new staff and system and they haven’t even given him a chance.

We all know it by now. But this was a pretty bad trade all around. Nobody won. Detroit lost, Vrana lost, Washington lost and Mantha lost.

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But Mantha and the Capitals still had a chance. As slim as it might have been in some peoples eyes. They had a chance. But it looks like that chance will never even get an opportunity. The Caps have failed themselves and Mantha. What a shame!