2013 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #16: Anthony Mantha

While some feel he could be a one-year wonder, there's a lot of potential in this Val d'Or forward, and the Blue Jackets could decide it's worth taking a shot on this power forward prospect.

Anthony Mantha

Position: Forward (LW/RW)
Team: Val d'Or Foreurs - QMJHL
Age: 18
Date of Birth: September 16th, 1994
Place of Birth: Longueuil, Quebec (CAN)
Ht: 6'4" Wt: 201 lbs.
Shoots: L

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One of the oldest players in the 2013 draft class due to his birthday (if he'd been born on the 15th, he'd have qualified for 2012), Mantha is an extremely physical player who isn't afraid to use his larger size to dominate opponents, and get into the "dirty areas". He doesn't seem eager to drop the gloves - only 15 of his regular season PIMs come from fighting majors - but does appear willing to defend himself if called upon. Mantha comes across as a "shoot first" scorer more than a playmaker, and he's also gotten some heat for watching the puck and failing to get back on players in the defensive zone - something that has kept him towards the bottom of this draft class, and may have played a role in being left off the U20 WJC squad this year (though a lackluster showing at last season's U18s didn't help, either.) There's also some concerns that Mantha could be a one-year wonder thanks to his age - his numbers in the 2011-2012 season were OK, but nothing like this year's impressive production.

High scoring talent out of the Q is not always a guarantee - in fact, the guys at Behind the Net have shown that of the three Major Junior leagues, you see the largest drop when predicting how players will jump to the NHL, but Mantha does seem to have a lot of the pieces needed to become an excellent NHL power forward - if he can put everything together.

Scouting Reports

With elite offensive skill, Mantha is incredibly dangerous with the puck on his stick. He obviously knows how to find the back of the net. With potential to be a game-changer, Mantha's name will always be bantered about as a possible first round pick. He possesses the ability to create big scoring chances every time the puck is on his stick. He has the potential to be a bonafide offensive presence in the NHL, especially with the knack he has for driving the net, setting up plays, and using his patented shot to score some timely goals.

If he was a bit more consistent, he could very well be in the discussion for a top 5 draft pick in June.

-The Hockey Writers

Anthony Mantha brings all the physical traits a scout can ask for: size, smooth, coordinated skating and strength. You could group Mantha in with a few other names like Alexsander Barkov and Seth Jones whose freakish athleticism would see them suceed in almost any sport. Athleticism is not all Mantha brings to the table however - an innate ability to read the play from the perimeter, soft hands and an elite shot have helped Mantha cement his status as a 1st round talent early in his draft year.

Some things Mantha needs to work on are his compete level without the puck, which is an issue on the backcheck and his physicality. When a player with a big strong frame like Mantha doesn't use his size on the boards consistently it raises a red flag.

-The Scouting Report

Why He'd Be A Good Fit In Columbus:

If the Blue Jackets only had one first round pick in this draft, I'll be honest - I might skip Mr. Mantha, especially if guys like Domi or Ristolainen were still on the board. But one of the nice things about (on paper) having three draft picks is that you get the freedom to gamble a little more.

With Columbus' pick from either New York or Los Angeles, we could have a nice "project" player who could fill several needs for this club - he's got some of the best pure skating among this draft class, and if he can bring his scoring talent into the NHL with him, he's going to be a great fit in the top six sooner than later. Mantha also would bring some VERY needed size to the prospect pool - one of the biggest concerns I have about Columbus' best forward prospects is that just about all of them have difficulty getting onto a roller coaster without being extensively scrutinized to make sure they're tall enough to ride, and given the way he's already filling out that 6'4" frame, there's a good chance that he could become a very dangerous weapon. Watching him force his way through a forecheck and break through for odd-man rushes thanks to his speed could be quite a show.

Mantha In Action:

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