Washington Capitals won Anthony Mantha trade after all

Almost three years ago the Washington Capitals traded Jakub Vrana for Anthony Mantha. Three years later, it appears the Caps have won the trade.
Anthony Mantha, Washington Capitals
Anthony Mantha, Washington Capitals / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

In 2021 the Washington Capitals shocked the entire NHL world when they traded Jakub Vrana for Anthony Mantha. Now nearly three years since that trade it's Mantha who's been dominating.

Mantha has had somewhat of a revenge tour as he's second on the Capitals in goals with 11. His 11 goals he's scored this season took him 27 less games than last season to reach 11 goals which was all he scored in the entirety of last year.

So what's been behind Mantha's turnaround where he entered this season scoring a combined 24 goals since the trade? It's been pairing him with Connor McMichael and Aliaksei Protas after spending part of the early season as a healthy scratch.

""When they gave me that opportunity, it all kinda switched. Now I got some extra ice time and I was playing with Mikey and Pro. I didn't want to drop the ball, in a sense. So I keep pushing, and here we are.""

Anthony Mantha to Tarik El-Bashir

Mantha's first goal of the season came in a Capitals win over the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 25, a game that I believed helped turn around their season. His best game ame on Nov. 8 in an overtime loss to the Florida Panthers.

Mantha had scored two goals before exiting the game with an injury to the ear. He was out for a bit for 10 days but hasn't skipped a beat as he's sored eight goals since that injury. Mantha is 29, still under that 30 cutoff. And he won't be 30 until September and who know's if he'll still be with the Capitals as he enters the offseason a free agent.

McMichael and Protas are both young bucks as McMichael is about to turn 23 later this month on the 15th and Prtoas will on the 6th. Both were drafted in 2019 by the Capitals while Mantha was taken six years prior.

Either way credit to those two for helping Mantha get his confidence back. We'll see if it continues as the Capitals embark on a big stretch.