In the span of three games with the Washington Capitals, former Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha has run the gauntlet of hockey disappointment. He’s gone from demotion to the fourth line, to riding the pine, to sitting in the press box.
Mantha was a healthy scratch as the Capitals were facing the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. The return of forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson from injury meant someone had to give way, and one of those somebodies was Mantha, along with Nicolas Aube-Kubel.
Lazy play by Anthony Mantha in the neutral zone cheating ahead of the play, Predators go the other way and Thomas Novak scores to make it 1-0 Nashville.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) January 7, 2023
“I have no problem if either one of those guys were in the lineup today, Kubel or Mantha, but they’re not, Capitals coach Peter Laviolette told Sammi Silber of Washington Hockey Now. “I had to make decisions, and that’s where I started.”
Mantha was skating just 9:48, low among Washington forwards, in the club’s previous game against the Nashville Predators.
Red Wings Mantha For Vrana Deal Fading In Significance
At the 2020 NHL trade deadline, the multi-faceted deal between the Capitals and Red Wings seeing Jakub Vrana and Mantha switching teams was given consideration as a major blockbuster, an old-school type hockey trade.
Today, Vrana, after clearing NHL waivers, is playing for the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins, while Mantha is watching NHL games in civvies.
Mantha is showing 9-14-23 totals in 42 games for Washington this season. He was good for three points over his last four games. However, Laviolette was expressing frustration with the inconsistency Mantha was displaying in his play. That’s a trait Red Wings fans were often finding themsevles lamenting about during his time in Detroit.
When he is playing, Vrana is often producing, counting 22 goals in 39 games for Detroit. That being said, he’s also been missing for most of last season (shoulder surgery) and much of this season (personal issues). Since arriving in Detroit, Vrana’s made an appearance in 22% of the club’s games.
In Grand Rapids, his account is displaying one assist in six games.
“The hope for Vrana is potential,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “Right now he has one goal for us. Right now he has zero goals . . . in Grand Rapids.”