At long last, Anthony Mantha will make his professional hockey debut.
Mantha, Detroit’s first-round pick (20th overall) at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has recovered from a broken tibia and been assigned to AHL Grand Rapids, the club announced.
A prolific goalscorer in junior — he had back-to-back 50-goal campaigns for QMJHL Val-d’Or — Mantha was in line to make the Red Wings out of training camp this year, only to get injured during the club’s rookie tournament in Traverse City.
“It’s disappointing news,” Wings GM Ken Holland said at the time, 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.”
As Holland suggested, Mantha was gunning for a spot with Detroit and appeared to have 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.”