Capitals Acquire Anthony Mantha From Red Wings For First-Round Pick, Second-Round Pick, Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals announced that they have acquired forward Anthony Mantha from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2021 first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, and forwards Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik just after the 3 PM NHL Trade Deadline on Monday.

Mantha, 26, has recorded a team-leading 11 goals, 21 points, and a -14 rating in 42 games this season and 95 goals, 194 points, and a -26 rating in 302 career NHL games, all with the Red Wings. The team selected him 20th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft.  This season at five-on-five, Mantha has a 49.16% Corsi-for percentage, a 47.99% expected goals-for percentage, and a 48.63% scoring chances-for percentage this season.

The best season of his NHL career came in 2018-19 when he recorded 25 goals, 48 points, and a -8 rating in 67 games.

After this season, Mantha has three seasons left on a contract that carries a $5.7 million cap hit. He will likely play in the Capitals’ top-six forward group.

Vrana, 25, has recorded 11 goals, 25 points, and a +9 rating in 39 games this season and has been a healthy scratch three times. He can become a restricted free agent on July 27.

In 284 career games with the Capitals, Vrana has recorded 76 goals, 157 points, and a +36 rating. He set career-highs in goals (25) and points (52) in 69 games last season. He has no points and a combined -8 rating in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games over the past two seasons when the Capitals were eliminated in the first round both times after recording three goals and eight points in 23 games during the 2018 tournament.

The Capitals added $675,000 in salary cap space by adding Mantha, who has never played a Stanley Cup Playoff game in his career.

The move arguably improves a Capitals’ offense that averages 3.43 goals-per-game this season (second in the NHL behind the Colorado Avalanche) and a power play that ranks fourth with a 25.5% efficiency. Mantha averaged 2:31 worth of power-play ice time with the Red Wings, fifth on the team.

Panik, who has two years left on a contract that pays him $2.75 million annually, cleared waivers last week. He has three goals, nine points, and a -9 rating in 36 games this season.

The Capitals, who are tied for first in the East Division with the New York Islanders as both teams have a 27-11-4 record, host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (7 PM ET, NBCSN nationally, NBC Sports Washington locally) in what could be Mantha’s debut.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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14 Responses to Capitals Acquire Anthony Mantha From Red Wings For First-Round Pick, Second-Round Pick, Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik

  1. Scottlew73 says:

    Belive that sound you here in background is fat lady singing for your GM! Mantha is biggest floater on Wings this year! Hope Caps fans like big unmotivated forwards you won lotto today. Think line is “looks like Tarzan,plays like Jane!” JV will excell on Wings team that has speed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Vrana has had motivational issues all along the way – Hershey, Czech National team and under Trotz and Laviolette.

    • redLitYogi says:

      as a side note, that phrase, “the fat lady singing” originated right here in DC. Then coach Dick Motta of the then Washington Bullets coined it during the NBA finals in 1978. “The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” And no one remembers Motta now, but it is one of the all time great sports lines. So much for that. Vrana is a high end talent who, as far as I can tell is faster than a Shohei Ohtani line drive and as fast or faster than any other player in the league. If Larkin and Vrana ever decide to race, I’d put my money on Vrana. His problem was that he was a scoring specialist on a team that has two or three scoring specialists already (including Ovie, who, adjusted for era, is probably the best pure goal scorer the game has ever seen). We’ve also got two or three youngsters (McMichael, Lapierre, Leason) that will be needing opportunity. The thinking here is that Mantha has some high end skills but can’t be THE guy on a team like he was supposed to be in Detroit. So here, he gets to be a complimentary piece. If he does not make some effort on defense, the coaches here will crush him. We only allow one floater on this team and that guy has earned the right to float based on his other accomplishments. What I worry about on our end is his being another Rick Nash — big guy with high end talent who never lives up to his potential and then becomes an insubstantial player on good teams that he does not help make better.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        I remember Yogi! (We are old). I still have a dingy t shirt from that time. They also had B.B., a miniature hot dog that would run around on the court, and a Phat Lady that dressed up for games.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good deal. Mantha is another with motivational issues, but who doesn’t in Detroit. We got slower and bigger, which will be interesting to see how that works out.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Agreed. We will know quickly if Laviolette can motivate him. Unfortunately he was unable to get through to Vrána and look what happened.

    • redLitYogi says:

      Bigger and slower indeed. But Mantha is not a bad skater at all: he’s not Jeff Schulz (sorry, Sarge). Looking at the clips of him at practice, he’s got excellent hands so the skill level is there. Now, besides Kuznetsov, our only flyers are all in the bottom six (Sheary, Sprong, Hagelin, Dowd) while our top 6 — assuming Sprong or Sheary don’t make it up into the top 6 — are guys with average NHL speed but not more. Personally, I’d prefer Oshie on a line with Eller and Sheary so that Sprong can partner with Backstrom in setting up Mantha. That worked very well the other night for Sheary.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If Vrana had motivational issues in DC, he’s gonna be trouble in Detroit. Reunited with Christian Djoos, however.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hope this doesn’t affect Vanecek. His Czech mates have Czeched out.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think they paid too much for AM…

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      A first and a second is steep. One was to take Panik contract, ok. The other is where we lose in the deal.

      • Marky says:

        Caps get cost certainty and Mantha can drive play unlike Vrana where others did all the work for him. His body language showed he didn’t like the coach and that is going to mess with the room and with the Caps annually in the playoffs, you can’t have those distractions. Caps have 2nd thru 6th rounders this year in a largely unscouted draft so scouts have to step up and do a good job this summer. Nice to move Panik at 2.75 for two years after this one!

    • redLitYogi says:

      We got rid of cap space for cost certainty and it cost us. The question I have is what assets are we going to have to move two years from now to dump Mantha’s contract, because we have some youngsters coming up that may be better. Ordinarily, I’d be bummed about losing the picks. Hell, I AM bummed about the picks. Draft day is so much fun and we always ruin it by getting rid of our high picks. But we’ve had three strong drafts in a row here in DC. Rather than piling in new players, it seems we’d be well advised to put a lot of effort into fully developing McMichael, Lapierre, Protas, and Leason so in some sense it’s okay. A big issue with the Caps has been that with our top forward talent blocking the pipeline, it’s very difficult for even good young players to establish themselves here.

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