By Tom Mitsos –
TRAVERSE CITY — During the first session of media interviews at the Red Wings development camp on Friday at Centre Ice Arena, Anthony Mantha was enveloped in a crowd of reporters.
It’s easy to see why. All eyes will be on the 19-year-old this season, as he attempts to make the Detroit Red Wings roster out of training camp in September and bring a scoring punch to Detroit.
Mantha finished up his junior career with Val-d’Or Foreurs by leading the league in scoring with 120 points (57 goals, 63 assists) in 57 games. He added 24 goals and 14 assists in the QMJHL playoffs en route to a championship title.
The Red Wings’ 20th overall pick in last year’s draft was named CHL player of the year, and thus, set the bar high for himself and the Red Wings management.
However, he isn’t getting himself overly excited about the possibility of joining the team this year.
“I think it’s just being calm,” Mantha said on possibly making the team this year. “Getting out here and doing what I should be doing. By doing the right things, I’ll get my chance and not put myself under too much pressure.”
Mantha said winning the QMJHL title as well as a deep run in the Memorial Cup helped prepare him for a future with the Red Wings.
“I learned a lot,” he said. “How to manage your time, how to manage your physical and mental (state). I think going out there is just the big thing for me.”
This is the second year Mantha is attending the development camp, but he said he is always looking for ways to better himself.
“Getting more experience, playing with new guys — competing hard for sure,” he said. “It’s a rookie camp, but you want to show this organization what you can do out there.”
Mantha added his defensive game has improved since attending the camp last year.
The opportunity is just a couple of months away, but Mantha said he isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“You want to be an NHLer one day in your life,” he said, “and as soon as you come, you try to make every step to get there.”