As Ryan Mantha heads into his first rookie camp with the Oilers organization, he's chomping at the bit to get on the ice.
"I just want to show them I can play," said Mantha, who signed a three-year entry-level contract with the club as a free agent on March 1. "I think that's something I can take care of and that's all I can worry about: just playing my game."
Mantha enjoyed a successful three-year run with the Niagara IceDogs, compiling 58 points in 2016-17. He then played two games in the American Hockey League with the Bakersfield Condors at the end of the season. That gave him a taste of a higher level of hockey.
"I know what to expect coming into this year now," said Mantha. "It's a lot different than junior hockey, so having that perspective of what I need to work on and get better at was huge for me going into the summer."
Mantha is a big body, listed at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds. He also has a great shot, but the simple game is the most effective game for the blueliner.
"I think it's just being simple, making a good first pass, following the play up and having a good gap," said Mantha. "That's something for me, as a defenceman, is huge and with me being a bigger guy."