Just one day after the Washington Capitals finished off the NHL Trade Deadline by acquiring him from the Detroit Red Wings, forward Anthony Mantha partook in his first morning skate with the team and met with the media for the first time.
The 26-year old forward, who is expected to make his debut with the Caps tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers, expressed his excitement on playing for the Capitals, adding that he took a car-ride up Interstate-95 to D.C.:
“Obviously it was a surprise yesterday. I woke up from a pre-game nap and I was traded. It’s been a busy day yesterday, and traveled here, and ready to go”.
Mantha admitted that the trade came as surprise, given he had signed a four-extension with the Red Wings in November 2020, but expressed his eagerness to be a member of the Capitals, saying, “Excitement, obviously, surprise. I had just signed a deal in Detroit so I thought I was going to stay there for a couple more years but it’s part of hockey, part of our life, so it’s a new beginning over here and I’m excited to join the Caps”.
Mantha, one of a couple deadline deals conducted by General Manager Brian MacLellan (see HERE and HERE), affirmed his comfortability playing both wings and also spoke of the opportunity of playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie and going from a mediocre Detroit team to a contending Capitals club:
“It’s going to be awesome. They’re two great players, I’m excited to see what I can bring to their duo and hopefully it clicks right away and we score a couple today…Awesome. I woke up from a nap a new Capitals member and they’re first in the league right now and for me it’s a huge opportunity obviously a lot comes my way and the way I want to play hockey over here”.
On what he feels he can bring to the Caps and what fans of the team can expect from him, Mantha described his game as a “big body” type game, “I think I can bring a lot of offense over here solid play that the Caps play will fit and obviously I’m excited I’m going to play big body and shoot of lot of pucks and try to make great plays”. He also touched on playing with Alex Ovechkin and Backstrom after playing against them over his career, saying, “It’s going to be awesome. I’m probably going to learn a lot from them. Just this morning, obviously it’s first practice, but just looking at them pass and shoot the puck, it’s just awesome to see”.
Mantha also touched on leaving his teammates in Detroit behind, expressing his sadness on leaving but also gratefulness for the time he spent in the Motor City:
“It was hard. I made my way down to the rink just before the played to say goodbye…But obviously it’s guys I’d been around for the past four to six years so I made some great friends. Obviously it’s hard to leave a team but I’m excited for what’s ahead…It’s hard to leave a team like that but I had great memories from draft day to my last and it’s going to be memories that will live on…”.
Mantha spoke of his acclimation process to the Capitals and the system under Head Coach Peter Laviolette, saying, “I’ll try to make it happen real quick. There’s only a couple games left of the regular season so I’ll try and push for a couple of days maybe a week or so and try to know everyone a little bit better so hopefully it goes quick”.
“New beginning over here and I’m excited to join the Caps.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 13, 2021
The Capitals are set to take on the Flyers at Capital One Arena tonight at 7:00 PM.
By Michael Fleetwood