After three relatively unsuccessful seasons with the Washington Capitals, forward Anthony Mantha could be making his way out of DC this summer.
According to the Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the Caps have let other teams know that they are ready to move on from Mantha.
The 28-year-old winger has one final season remaining on his current contract that will pay him $5.7 million.
Seravalli adds that to dump Mantha on another team, the eventual trade would likely have to include a sweetener from the Caps if they want the other side to take on Mantha’s full salary. That’s why the hockey insider adds further context in his article on why it may make more sense for the Caps to just buyout the remaining year on Mantha’s deal.
“The buyout factor will probably have to be weighed,” Seravalli writes.
Instead of being forced to add an asset to what would be at this stage just a salary dump transaction, the Caps could go that route to save some money on the salary cap. There is a drawback to that process though as buyouts stay on the team’s cap twice the length of the remaining years on the player’s contract and in this case that would be two years.
The total cost of Mantha’s potential buyout would be $4,333,333 and the Caps would collect savings of $2,166,667. Mantha’s cap hit for next season would be $1,366,667 and then $2,166,667 the season after.
Caps general manager Brian MacLellan discussed buyouts at his year-end press conference in April. He seemed to be somewhat against the idea due to the salary cap not seeing any sort of marked increase in recent years.
“We haven’t discussed any but I’m not opposed to it,” MacLellan said. “I think with the cap being flat, most of the time, it doesn’t make sense. If it made sense, we’d pursue it.”
Mantha’s 2022-23 campaign was supposed to be his breakout year with the Caps but the big winger put up just 27 points (11g, 16a) in 67 games and was healthy scratched multiple times by head coach Peter Laviolette. During the season he had a 19-game goalless streak and also dealt with a nagging groin injury down the stretch.
At his lowest personal point this year, Mantha hired a mental coach to try and help him regain some of the confidence he had lost due to coming in and out of the lineup. Oftentimes, he would receive fourth-line minutes from Laviolette when he was on the team sheet. He has said that the sessions will continue over the offseason.
“Crazy tough [year],” Mantha said in April. “Being scratched is a hard hit in the face. You come back and you try to get things going and get the confidence and sometimes it’s way harder than people can imagine. Putting extra pressure on yourself, putting extra details, and then you go out there and you’re actually thinking more than you were before. Obviously, it’s not the season I wanted.”
MacLellan called this current Caps team one that’s in a “transition period.” Moving Mantha and his large cap hit might be necessary to make changes.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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