The Washington Capitals have made it no secret that forward Anthony Mantha has been available via trade this offseason. The underperforming, 28-year-old winger is entering the final year of his contract that carries a cap hit of $5.7 million.
According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, Eric Duhatschek and Michael Russo’s latest offseason trade board update, the Caps have not found many suitors for Mantha. That news has reportedly caused a change in strategy for the team regarding trying to move him.
“The Capitals would be willing to trade Anthony Mantha (No. 24), but as of now, it doesn’t sound like they’ve gotten much in the way of offers and would rather see if a new coach and a contract year can motivate him,” the trio writes.
Mantha is coming off of a 2022-23 campaign that was supposed to be his true arrival 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 also had a 19-game goalless streak and dealt with a nagging groin injury.
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 said during Breakdown Day that the sessions will continue over the offseason.
Back in early June, the Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that the Caps would likely have to include a sweetener in any deal if they wanted another team to take on Mantha’s full cap hit. Unsurprisingly, that may have led to this new plan of seeing if fighting for his next deal under new head coach Spencer Carbery can get more out of Mantha than Laviolette did.
“I feel like I can help Anthony,” Carbery said on Elliot In The Morning a few weeks ago. “Right away start to get to know him, his experiences. When he’s had success, where has he been put? What did the coaches do? How was coaching brought to you? Players are coached all differently. Some have success being pushed on, some have success being shown real positive things. That’s where my head goes to right away. How can I help Anthony Mantha get back to being the player he knows he’s capable of being and he’s shown?
“That’s how I’ll dig in on a personal level and I’ll help him and look for different things and show him certain things that I see through the film of when he’s playing really, really well,” he continued. “Here’s three things, boom, boom, boom, and now we focus on those and we get to work on those. Try to make it look like that as consistently as possible in games. It’s one of the challenges of coaching but one of the parts of it that I love. Trying to help players be their best and find those different ways.”
Outside of Mantha, the three writers also provided a brief update on Evgeny Kuznetsov. They say that it’s a “long shot” that Kuzy will be moved despite the fact that the Caps are still “open to it.”
The NHL Draft is in less than a week (June 28-29) and then free agency opens up soon after (July 1). The Capitals’ true offseason plans should be more clear by then.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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