Author: Jason Brough

2013 NHL Draft

Mantha: ‘I need to work on a lot of aspects of my play’


He didn’t say “very” three times to describe his disappointing AHL season, his first as a professional, but Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha did concede he has a lot of work to do in order to make his way up to the NHL.

“I need to work on my strength, for sure,” Mantha said, per MLive. “I need to work on a lot of aspects of my play, like getting quicker on my skates … I got better as the year went along but I need to keep growing for the summer.”

Yesterday, we passed along the feelings of Wings executive Jim Devellano, who called Mantha’s first season in Grand Rapids “very, very, very disappointing.”

“I think he’s going through adversity,” added GM Ken Holland. “And I think when you (face) adversity in life and learn to deal with it, you become a better person and a better player.”

Red Wings’ Devellano calls Mantha ‘very, very, very disappointing’

Val'Dor Foreurs v Guelph Storm - Game Four

Perhaps it was a wake-up call. Perhaps it was just plain, old honesty.

Either way, it’s hard to ignore what longtime Red Wings executive Jim Devellano had to say about winger Anthony Mantha, Detroit’s first-round draft pick from 2013.

“Very, very, very disappointing,” said Devellano, per FOX Sports Detroit. “And I say that with a lot of sadness. Coming out of junior, we had such high hopes for him.”

Mantha, 20, had 15 goals in 62 games for AHL Grand Rapids during the regular season. He has just one assist in five playoff games.

On the bright side, Devellano did have some good things to say about the Wings’ young defensive prospects. Though even saying that, he was forced to lament that “none of them are the answer to Nicklas Lidstrom,” i.e. a future elite defenseman.

“That’s our problem,” he added. “The only place you get those guys is (high) in the draft. And simply because of where we draft we don’t get those guys.”

Granted, that’s not actually true, that top d-men are only available high in the draft. Shea Weber, P.K. Subban and Duncan Keith are all second-rounders. Lidstrom himself was a third-rounder. The Red Wings just haven’t drafted many defensemen with their highest picks in recent years. Xavier Ouellet was taken 48th overall in 2011. Before him, you have to go back to Brendan Smith, 27th overall in 2007.

But it’s true that the Wings don’t appear to have a future elite d-man in the system, and you have to wonder how that will affect 1) their ability to compete for a Stanley Cup in the near future and 2) Mike Babcock’s willingness to remain with the club.

Related: On the difference between ‘good’ and ‘big-time’ players

Once again, Rick Nash isn’t scoring in the playoffs

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game Two

Google the name “Rick Nash” with the phrase “get inside” and you get over 20,000 matches.

That should tell you something about 1) how closely Nash is put under the microscope and 2) what many believe he has to do in order to score goals.

That includes him.

“You just have to keep trying to get on the inside,” Nash said, per “I can’t allow my game to be completely on the outside. I have to get to the inside; that’s the biggest thing. You can always do more. There’s always more I can do to try to score.”

Nash has only scored once in these playoffs, despite registering 25 shots. That stat line is reminiscent of last year’s, when he scored just three goals on 83 shots in the postseason, as well as the year’s before that, when he had just one goal on 42 shots.

In his career, Nash has just six playoff goals on 163 shots, for a remarkably low shooting percentage of 3.7. In the regular season, his career shooting percentage is dramatically higher, at 12.5.

“When I look at our personnel and at who can do the net-front presence and still be able to tip pucks, take some checks in front and maybe slide some pucks in, I look at [Chris Kreider] and [Nash],” coach Alain Vigneault said, per the New York Post.

Of course, that’s easier said than done in the playoffs, when teams protect the front of the net with more gusto and the officials tend to let more of the gusto go.

It’s also easier said than done against the Capitals, who boast some pretty big boys on the back end.

Game 3 of Caps-Rangers goes tonight in D.C. The series is tied 1-1.

Related: Five team stats you may find interesting