Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Anthony Mantha Jersey Card

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The comments sections of all hockey news sources (and pretend-pundits) were adamant that Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman had essentially committed highway robbery when he traded power forward Anthony Mantha to the Washintgton Capitals for - admittedly - a large haul, namely forwards Richard Panik and Jakub Vrana, plus a first-round pick in 2021 and a second-rounder in 2022. A lot of those folks were saying Vrana himself was worth Mantha because they had similar statistics this season.

Yeah... no. Sure, Mantha only has 11 goals so far, but that placed him first on the Wings, whereas Vrana's 11 put him in a three-way tie for fourth on the team, and he played in five more games than Tom Wilson, who would have jumped ahead anytime soon. Mantha's struggles this season can be attributed to how bad the roster in Detroit is, and how coach Jeff Blashill has allowed every single individual on it to regress.

Mantha is about to enter his prime as an elite-scoring power forward - think "Tom Wilson with more goals and no suspensions". He went from 24 goals and 48 points in 80 games 2017-18 to 25 goals and 48 points in just 67 games (injury) in 2018-19 to 16 goals and 38 points in 43 games in last year's Covid-reduced season. He's about to enter a sequence of four or five 30-goal seasons in a six-year span, and now that he's surrounded by elite talent in Washington, he can actualy aim for 40 once or twice. I don't know that Vrana will be a permanent fixture in Detroit, if only because their structure seems to rely so much on having three second lines and no elite talent up front, which leaves me with the impression tha the could be dealt for a few picks himself at next year's deadline.

Mantha sure started things off on the right foot with a goal and an assist in his first game as a Cap, and he's been quoted as being ecstatic about moving from a last-place team to a Stanely Cup contender. I'm not sure their defense compares to that of the Tampa Bay Lightning or Colorado Avalanche, and we have yet to see them in action against the Toronto Maple Leafs or Edmonton Oilers, and their goaltending is unproven in the postseason, but the Capitals have shown that they can dominate against the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, at least, and having a sniper of Mantha's caliber on their second line will give them that much more of a chance.

Here he is wearing the Wings' white (away) uniform on card #GJ-AM from Upper Deck's 2018-19 Series 1 collection and UD Game Jersey sub-set:
It features a matching white game-worn jersey swatch.

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