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Mantha is named CHL player of the year

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Anthony Mantha finished his junior career by producing 129 goals and 260 points in 189 games for the Val-d'Or Foreurs. (Photo by Getty Images)
Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha, of the Val-d'Or Foreurs, is the Canadian Hockey League's player of the year.

The 19-year-old forward from Longueuil, Quebec, scored 81 goals in 81 regular-season and playoff games for the Foreurs.

The CHL is the umbrella group that represents the Western, Ontario and Quebec major junior hockey leagues.

Mantha was a first-round draft pick (No. 20 overall) of the Detroit Red Wings last June.

He had a goal and three assists in three games at the Memorial Cup. The Foreurs lost in triple overtime to the Edmonton Oil Kings in Friday’s semifinal.

Another Red Wings’ prospect, Tyler Bertuzzi, the nephew of Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi, will lead his Guelph Storm, champions of the OHL, into Sunday’s championship against the Oil Kings (4 p.m. EST; NHLN-US, Sportsnet).

The only other Red Wings' prospect to earn CHL player of the year recognition was Dale McCourt in 1977.

Last October, the Red Wings signed Mantha to a three-year entry level contract. He is expected to compete for an NHL roster spot in the Red Wing’ training camp in September.

“We’ll bring him to training camp, give him an opportunity in preseason to show what he’s got,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told “He’s got some special tools. He’s 6-5, he can skate. At times he paces himself. Part of this is the minutes he plays. Also, his talent level allows him to play that way.”

The Red Wings are impressed by Mantha’s speed and his ability to play physical.

“He can lay body checks, get in on the puck,” Holland said. “We got lots of younger players in the organization; we’re a relatively young team. We’re hoping to have a real competitive camp.”

Eleven rookies skated for the Red Wings during the 2013-14 season, including nine that made their NHL debuts. Detroit finished eighth in the Eastern Conference, qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 23rd straight season. However, the Red Wings were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in five games.

“We’re trying to transition from an older team to a younger team but you can’t get too young too quickly when you’re competing for the Stanley Cup,” Holland said. “We think we got a good nucleus; if we can add to it.

“I’m proud we made the playoffs, but our aspirations are higher than making the playoffs and winning one game.”

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