If you’re looking for pure scoring ability in the first round, there aren’t many better options on the board than Anthony Mantha of the Val D’Or Foreurs.
The 6-foot-4, 190 pound winger simply couldn’t stop scoring this season, ranking among the top snipers in all of Canada. In 67 regular season games with Val D’Or, Mantha scored 50 goals and added another 39 assists for 89 points. He added another five goals in nine playoff games for good measure and was named a member of the QMJHL’s Second All-Star team.
Mantha’s attributes are obvious. He’s a big body who can control the tempo of a game with his offensive savvy and habitually makes plays. Offensively, he is an excellent finisher, possessing a great shot that comes quick and with a lot of weight. He has a knack for slipping into the dangerous scoring areas of the offensive zone and simply has that nose for the net. He is quality skater and, when he gets a head of steam with his frame, he is a very tough player to knock off the puck.
The criticisms of his game are strong enough concerns that they have prevented Mantha from being locked in as a high first round pick. For his frame he is not a very physical player -- he is capable of using his frame to aid possession of the puck, but he does not play with noticeable aggression, which may prevent him from achieving his ultimate potential. It has also been said that Mantha is prone to taking nights off, which, in turn, has called his competitiveness into question.
Mantha’s pros and cons bring with them an intriguing package for teams who are thinking about bringing him into the fold. On the one hand, he is an immensely gifted scorer and that in and of itself comes at a premium. At the same time however, while you hope that he eventually fills out and develops the chip on the shoulder necessary to round out his game, it may not happen. He has all the tools to become a high output scorer, it’s simply a matter of if all of those tools end up working in harmony.
Expect Mantha, the only 50 goal scorer from the CHL in this year’s draft, to come off the board somewhere in the middle of the first round.
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