Anthony Mantha: “I’m Going To Have To Step Up, For Sure”

Screen cap: RDS

It’s getting to be that time of year. Washington Capitals players are beginning to wrap up their vacations and off-season commitments and begin to set their sights on returning to District for the 2022-23 season. 

Capitals left-winger Anthony Mantha made one his final off-season public appearances at the Serge Savard’s Golf Tournament at the Golf Le Mirage in Terrebonne (Québec) Canada on Tuesday. Mantha spends a significant part of his off-season in the Montreal area.

Mantha held a brief media availability as part of the event. He was asked about the injuries and the projected lengthy absences of Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson. Backstrom underwent hip surgery in June and is expected to be out for most, if not all of the regular season. Wilson underwent knee surgery in May and is expected to be out 6-8 months.

“I’m going to have to ‘step up’, for sure,” said Mantha. “Backstrom, Wilson (we) will miss them at the beginning of the year. I will have a more important role and I will give my best for the team…I wish myself 82 games this year and to have the ‘fire power’ necessary to help the team.”

Mantha dealt with his own long-term injury last season, missing most of the regular season after undergoing shoulder surgery last fall. He would rehab in time to make the end of the regular season and all of the Capitals postseason, but the return was challenging for Mantha.

“The return was good. It was mentally difficult for four months. Playing before the summer did good, mentally,” confessed Mantha in his interview with reporter Jean-Christophe Bertrand.

During the off-season, the Capitals made wholesale changes in front of the net. Mantha said that he and his teammates were taken by surprise by the departure of Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov.

“We were surprised. Not in shock, but surprised by two changes rather than one. It’s only positive. We acquired a goalkeeper who won the Stanley Cup last year, it’s a lot of experience. It is confidence that he will bring in front of the net.”

At 27, Mantha is aware that he can offer some of his experience to a promising young hopeful like fellow Quebec’er Hendrix Lapierre, who will try to establish himself with the Capitals. Mantha admitted that Luke Glendening played a mentoring role when he joined the NHL.

“He’s a very fast guy,” said Mantha of Lapierre. “If Backstrom can’t start the year, it creates a hole in the center. It is up to Hendrix to take the chance and prove that he can fill a hole in the team.”

The annual tournament also paid tribute to the late Guy Lafleur who passed away this year. Many of Lafleur’s teammates were on hand, including his former linemates Steve Shutt and Jacques Lemaire.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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5 Responses to Anthony Mantha: “I’m Going To Have To Step Up, For Sure”

  1. steven says:

    Hate to say this but it needs to be said…..what experience does he have to offfer to younger players? Maybe the ability to disappear for times in the game or even for several games, for someone of his talend to under produce on a regular basis……if that is what he brings to the ice then I suggest that maybe it is time to cut losses and trade him for younger players or picks. Know that the return will not be great however 5 injuries have cost hime time and I just dont see the hunrer or hustke there to be better. Words mean nothing if you dont back them up with your production!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sad but true.

      • SchulzEricT says:

        He’s a really smart, really really patient player who is monstrous fore-checking. I have no idea how anybody could watch him play and think he “disappears”; every time he’s on the ice he’s noticeable, his fore-checking jumps off the page.
        I honestly think people are mistaking patience for laziness, are refusing to see how good he is at forechecking because they see how big he is and think the only way he can help a team is by hitting. I’m baffled by those who think he should hit more instead of appreciating how impactful he is on the fore-check.

        • Anonymous says:

          His rap in Detroit was laziness. But I’m willing to give him a full season to render a final verdict.

  2. DWGie26 says:

    I want to love Mantha. I do think he is smart and uses his reach but he is so damn inconsistent. He makes 5.7M so yeah, I expect more in a lot of areas.

    If we can have a full season of 6M Mantha, then we’re going to be good. To me Mantha is the pivotal offensive player for this year (good or bad).

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