Red Wings take notice of Mantha’s ‘dominant’ AHL start

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Could Anthony Mantha soon be coming to an NHL arena near you?

Mantha, Detroit’s first round pick (20th overall) at the 2013 draft, narrowly missed making the team after an impressive training camp, and has carried that form over to AHL Grand Rapids, where he’s scored five times in his first three games.

The Red Wings are well aware of his exploits.

“When I see five goals in three games, when I hear he’s playing the right way, hear he’s doing the right things now and he’s starting to get dominant — you want to see them dominate the level below to make sure he’s ready to do the same thing at the level above,” head coach Jeff Blashill said, per the Detroit News. “It’s impossible to expect a player to be big time offensively when he wasn’t down there.”

“He’s taking great steps.”

Mantha — who is still only 22, which some forget given how often his name has been in the news — was the Red Wings’ last cut in the preseason. He appeared in 10 NHL games last year, earned after potting 21 goals in 60 games with the Griffins.

This year, though, speedster Andreas Athanasiou made the team ahead of Mantha, despite the fact that Detroit’s three most promising prospects — Mantha, Athanasiou and Dylan Larkin — skated together on a line at times during the exhibition campaign, a trio some fans were clamoring for at the NHL level.

Alas, it wasn’t to be.

But Mantha’s play in Grand Rapids could revive the line soon.