Detroit pulls about-face, recalls prized prospect Mantha

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Back in mid-February, a Michigan Live article noted that — despite scoring his first pro hat-trick for AHL Grand Rapids — Anthony Mantha was unlikely to be brought up to play for the Detroit Red Wings.

Well, things have changed.

On Monday, Detroit announced it had recalled Mantha, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound forward taken 20th overall at the 2013 draft.

The recall comes after a disheartening 1-0 loss to Toronto on Sunday, a game in which the Red Wings failed to put a single puck past Jonathan Bernier, despite firing 38 shots on net. The recall also comes with the club fighting for its playoff life — Detroit heads into Monday night’s action three points clear of Philly for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Flyers have two games in hand.

So needless to say, Mantha’s NHL debut could come in a pretty crucial moment. The Wings take on the Flyers on Tuesday, at Wells Fargo.

A former Quebec League scoring sensation — a two-time 50 goal scorer for Val d’Or — Mantha came to the Red Wings organization high on hype, but struggled in his first professional season at the AHL level.

This year, though, things have turned around. The 21-year-old has 21 goals and 45 points through 56 games, sitting third on the team in scoring.