Some tough news on the heels of Detroit’s rookie tournament in Traverse City — gifted prospect Anthony Mantha, the 20th overall pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft — broke his tibia and will be sidelined for the next 6-8 weeks.
“It’s disappointing news,” Ken Holland said, per the Detroit Free Press. “It’s an opportunity for some other people. But it’s disappointing. We were going to give him every opportunity to make our team.
“This is, for him — it’s a big setback. From our team standpoint, we didn’t know where he was at until he played games.”
Mantha, 20, was one of the most prolific goalscorers in junior hockey over the last two seasons, recording back-to-back 50-plus goal campaigns — last year, he scored 57 in 57 games for QMJHL Val-d’Or, then fired home another 24 in 24 playoff games.
As Holland mentioned, Mantha was gunning for a spot with Detroit this year and appeared to have something of an inside track on a coveted top-six forward spot — at least according to Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer.
“He’s unique. He’s fun to watch,” Fischer said of Mantha, per NHL.com. “The bigger the games, the bigger he plays, the bigger his performance, the more he wants to win. He loves playing games.
“He knows that he’s going to get a chance [at training camp]. He’s going to get a top-six forward chance in camp and he’s excited about it.”
Assuming Mantha recovers in the projected timeframe, he’ll almost certainly be off to AHL Grand Rapids to start his professional career.