This article was originally published on July 1, 2013, after the Red Wings selected Anthony Mantha 20th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. Mantha is expected to make his professional hockey debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins tomorrow night at Van Andel Arena.
By Michael Caples –
Despite being the only 50-goal scorer in the QMJHL last season, there were still some doubts surrounding Anthony Mantha’s game when the Red Wings selected him 20th overall in the NHL Draft.
Mantha, a forward from Longueuil, Quebec, is determined to prove his critics wrong, however.
“I’ll show the Red Wings that they picked the right guy,” Mantha said during his media interviews following his selection.
NHL Central Scouting rated Mantha the No. 10 North American-born skater in both their midterm and final projections. He recorded 50 goals and 39 assists in 67 QMJHL contests.
The Red Wings traded their original No. 18 pick down for the No. 20 and No. 58 picks before selecting Mantha.
“It’s a great feeling,” Mantha said. “The pressure all comes down. Just living the moment right now, it’s great.”
Mantha confessed that he was a Canadiens fan growing up.
“I come from Montreal so I always followed Montreal more than Detroit, but it’s a great honor to be part of Detroit,” their latest first-round pick said.
However, Mantha is familiar with the Original Six team out of Detroit. His grandfather, Andre Pronovost, captured four Stanley Cups during his NHL career, and skated for the Red Wings for parts of three seasons.
“It’s really an honor,” Mantha said of being drafted by one of his grandfather’s former teams. “Words really can’t come, but it’s just being there and showing them what I’m able to do. It’s just something that’s great for me.”
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound forward credits his grandfather and his father most for his development on the ice.
“Well every member of my family helped me,” Mantha said. “If I could say a little bit more, my father and my grandfather. They were always on the ice when I was younger with me, they just helped me out the whole way.”
The skill set cultivated by his family is high-end on the offensive side of the game; Mantha said his greatest strengths are his ability to find the back of the net and his play with the man-advantage.
The main thing Mantha said he needs to improve on his how hard he competes on a nightly basis.
“It’s really to bring my compete level to every game,” Mantha said. “That’s what I’ve been working on the last year. I think that next year is going to be top-notch, I need to be able to bring it there, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready next year.”
Mantha said he tries to pattern his game off of Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal.
“He’s a tall and big guy, good offensively or defensively,” Mantha said.
MiHockey’s Mark Burns contributed to this article from the Prudential Center in New Jersey.