The Washington Capitals made another last-minute deal at the trade deadline and it’s a blockbuster.
The Caps traded 2018 Stanley Cup champion Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, and a first and second-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings for star forward Anthony Mantha.
The news was first reported by NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes.
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) April 12, 2021
The news was later confirmed by The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.
Further to what @KevinWeekes first reported, believe the deal is:
Vrana, Panik, 1st RD pick, 2nd RD pick in exchange for Mantha
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 12, 2021
Mantha has been the best part of the Detroit Red Wings recently. He’s a genuinely strong driver of play with finishing talent to boot. At 26, he’s in his peak years right now, earning $5.7M until 2023-24.
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) April 12, 2021
In his career-best seasons of 2017-18 and 2018-19, Mantha scored 24 and 25 goals respectively and hit 48 points both years.
Anthony Mantha (traded to the capitals) is a very strong play-driver with a very good shot that he's not afraid to use. pic.twitter.com/pyQBr5os96
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) April 12, 2021
Mantha is also huge and plays big. He’s 6-foot-5 and weighs 234 pounds.
The trade ends the tenure of Jakub Vrana, a very popular player on the Capitals. Despite being one of the team’s top scorers at even strength, Vrana was recently scratched by Peter Laviolette for two games.
“We’ve had many conversations just about his play with regard to the competitiveness of it and the speed of it,” Laviolette said. “He is a very skilled player but there are other aspects of the game that are very important… We’re looking for a higher level of play.”
Vrana, 25, had 11 goals and 14 assists through 39 games. His ice time had diminished sharply in recent weeks, dipping near 10 minutes per night at times. During a March 9 game, Vrana, who was benched in the third period, appeared to stare at someone on the Capitals bench after scoring the overtime game winner.
Vrana was scheduled to be a restricted free agent this summer after completing a bridge deal (two-year, $6.7 million contract).
Meanwhile, Panik was surpassed by Conor Sheary and Daniel Sprong in the lineup and was recently put on waivers. He had been scratched most games leading up to the trade deadline. Dealing Panik gives the Capitals further cap space now and in future years to potentially re-sign Alex Ovechkin.
My guess is the Caps view this as two trades in one:
1) Panik plus a pick to relieve them of $2.75M in flap cap environment going forward with 2 more years on that contract;
2) Then Vrana plus a pick for Mantha.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 12, 2021
Capitals Acquire Anthony Mantha from Detroit Red Wings
The Washington Capitals have acquired forward Anthony Mantha from the Detroit Red Wings for forwards Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik, a 2021 first round pick and a 2022 second round pick, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. Mantha is signed through the 2023-24 season with a $5.7 millon AAV.
Mantha, 26, a native of Longueuil, Quebec, recorded 21 points (11g, 10a) in 42 games with the Red Wings this season. The 6’5″, 234-pound forward led Detroit with 11 goals and ranked second with 21 points. Mantha led Detroit with 19 even strength points (9g, 10a) and was tied for third with two power play goals.
During the 2019-20 season, Mantha ranked third on the team in goals (16), tied for third in assists (22) and third in points (38) despite playing in only 43 of the team’s 71 games due to injury. Mantha was on pace for his best statistical season in 2019-20, as his 0.88 points-per-game average eclipsed his previous best of 0.71, accomplished in the 2018-19 season when he notched a career-high 25 goals and 48 points in 67 games. In 302 career games, all with Detroit, Mantha has collected 194 points (95g, 99a). Since his NHL debut on March 15, 2016, Mantha is tied with Dylan Larkin for the most goals on the Red Wings (95g) and has led the team in goals per game (0.31) during that span. Additionally, Mantha has led Detroit in goals per game in two of the last four seasons (2017-18 and 2019-20) and has ranked in the top-three on the team in goals in each of his five full NHL seasons (2016-2021). During this span, Mantha also led Detroit with a 52.5 shot attempt percentage at five-on-five (4,079 for, 3,677 against). Mantha’s 6.6 relative shot attempt percentage at five-on-five during this span is the second-highest percentage in the NHL among players with at least 200 games played, trailing only Boston’s Patrice Bergeron (7.2 percent).
Mantha was selected by Detroit in the first round, 20th overall, in the 2013 NHL Draft. Mantha’s 0.31 goals per game ranks sixth among players in the 2013 NHL Draft class with at least 200 games played.
Prior to the NHL, Mantha appeared in 132 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL), recording 88 points (44g, 44a). Mantha played four seasons with the Val-d’Or Foreurs in the QMJHL, recording 260 points (129g, 131a) in 189 games. In his final season in the QMJHL in 2013-14, Mantha won the Jean Beliveau Trophy with the most points in the QMJHL (57g, 63a, 120p), the Michel Briere Trophy as the most valuable player in the QMJHL and was named the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year.
Internationally, Mantha appeared in the 2019 World Championship for Team Canada, recording 14 points (7g, 7a) in nine games, earning a silver medal. Additionally, Mantha represented Canada at the 2014 World Junior Championship, recording 11 points (5g, 6a) in seven games.
Vrana, 25, has recorded 25 points (11g, 14a) in 39 games this season. The 6’0″, 197-pound forward has recorded 157 points (76g, 81a) in 284 career games with the Capitals. He was drafted by Washington in the first-round, 13th overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Panik, 30, has recorded nine points (3g, 6a) in 36 games this season. The 6’2″, 203-pound forward has recorded 31 points (12g, 19a) in 95 games with the Capitals.
Headline photo: @anthonymantha39/Zoom
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