Red Wings sign Anthony Mantha, the best part of an already bright offseason

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Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman already performed well this offseason before Tuesday’s signing of Anthony Mantha. That said, much like his mentor in Edmonton, it was all about hitting a bunch of singles and not striking out. By signing Anthony Mantha for four years at a reported $22.8 million ($5.7M cap hit), Yzerman and the Red Wings knocked this one out of the park.

With this four-year deal, the Red Wings lock down Mantha, 26, for his peak years. That includes at least a couple of unrestricted fee agent seasons to boot. Again, very nice work by Detroit.

While the Red Wings can rest on their laurels for the remainder of the offseason, they don’t have to. With about $9.54M remaining in cap space, they can pull off another Marc Staal-type deal to take on someone else’s cap problems for picks/futures. Maybe Yzerman should call up his buddies in Tampa and hash out something that benefits both sides?

Red Wings get a bargain with Anthony Mantha signing

However you rank the combination of Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin among the NHL’s top duos, they give the Red Wings fantastic bang-for-the-buck. Larkin, 24, only carries a $6.1M cap hit through 2022-23. Getting those two for a hair under $12M for the next three seasons (with Mantha covered for an extra year at that $5.7M clip)? That’s good stuff.

By just about any measure, Mantha’s been productive for Red Wings teams that sometimes had little to look forward to beyond Mantha-Larkin (and now Tyler Bertuzzi). He scored 16 goals and 38 points in just 43 games in 2019-20, and before that, put together two straight 24+ goal, 48-point seasons.

If Mantha can stay healthy, this will be an even bigger steal. Mantha was limited to those 48 games last season, and also 67 of 82 contests in 2018-19. So far, the 2017-18 campaign was his closest to fully healthy (80 games played).

But maybe some of those bangs and bruises come with the territory for a bigger-bodied winger like Mantha. At that $5.7M clip, the Red Wings can accept him missing a stretch or two. (Especially when, frankly, they’re still far away from being truly competitive).

Delightfully, Mantha shines beyond strong counting numbers. Such strong underlying stats indicate that he isn’t merely elevated by being one of a few strong players on a very bad team.

Mantha deal gives Red Wings an interesting rebuilding vs. competing window

From here, the key is to take advantage of the opportunity in front of the Red Wings.

Again, they’re already getting some quality, bargain prime years from the Larkin and Mantha duo. But beyond that, there are opportunities to extract serious value from prospects who will graduate during Mantha’s contract.

Could the Red Wings make big jumps by combining Larkin – Mantha with the entry-level years from the likes of Lucas Raymond, Filip Zadina, and Moritz Seider, along with key development years from players like Filip Hronek?

Theoretically, the Red Wings could take advantage of all of those below-market value deals to make a splash or two. Maybe they can use what could be a robust amount of cash to coax the next Taylor Hall or Alex Pietrangelo to boost their chances of winnings? (Heck, Taylor Hall could be the next Taylor Hall.)

Accelerate the rebuild

As much as we love to see rebuilding teams pile up potential, eventually, you need to start turning that into production. With three years of Larkin and four years of Mantha at reasonable prices, the Red Wings have a window to try to get much better quite quickly.

Most of that work is up ahead. While the Red Wings have done well to add competence on low-risk contracts, the Vladislav Namestnikov and Bobby Ryan types aren’t likely to move the needle much long-term.

So, consider this the easy part, yet also parts other teams sometimes mess up. Keeping Mantha in place is key to the Red Wings (re)building a winning foundation.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

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    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.