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.