Anthony Mantha Logs Team-Low Time On Ice Against Predators

Former Washington Capitals’ forward Jakub Vrana was ultimately dealt to the Detroit Red Wings back in April of 2021 because of issues with, and his performance under head coach Peter Laviolette. Anthony Mantha, the player the Capitals received in the trade for Vrana, just might be following a similar path.

Expected to be a top-6 forward, Mantha was demoted to the Capitals’ fourth line on Thursday. He logged 12:21 of ice time and recorded an assist in the Capitals 6-2 win over the Blue Jackets on Thursday night in his first game on the fourth line.

However, things further deteriorated for Mantha on Friday night against the Nashville Predators. He was on the ice for both of the Predators first two goals and as a result, saw his ice time take a severe hit. He logged just 5:47 through the first two periods and ended the game with a team-low 9:48. He was the only Capitals player with less than 10 minutes of ice time.

It’s always difficult to ascertain how a relationship between two people is going when you are not part of the relationship. We don’t know if Mantha is in Laviolette’s proverbial dog house, or if Laviolette just wants to see more from him. It likely a little of both.

Mantha, 28, doesn’t have bad stats so far this season. He has nine goals and 14 assists in the first 42 games this season. He’s 5th on the team in xGF% (53.99%) and +3.47 in expected goals differential (xGF – xGA). But he’s not a fourth liner. And he makes $5,700,000 per year.

Mantha is capable of more. He recorded 24 and 25 goals in his first two season’s with the Red Wings (2017-19), but is on pace for just 18 this season. Mantha’s numbers have fallen off in recent seasons, but that has been mostly due to injuries.

What this means going forward is up for debate. Laviolette clearly wants more from Mantha, but will he get it? Will Mantha respond positively to this week’s demotion and reduced minutes? It’s up to him.

The Capitals will need to make significant roster adjustments, possibly in the next 24 hours, with the return of Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson. What will this mean for Mantha? Maybe nothing, but he’s not a fourth liner, and that will change one way or the other.

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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20 Responses to Anthony Mantha Logs Team-Low Time On Ice Against Predators

  1. Anonymous says:

    I remember red wings fans saying he was a loafer and apathetic in his game. They may not be wrong.

  2. BE says:

    I have no problems with Mantha tonight, Conor Sheary however played like crap.

  3. Anonymous says:

    He’s lazy and that drives Lavi nuts. Both will never say anything publicly but it was the same when Vrana was here.

  4. Anonymous says:

    He could easily finish the season with 50 pts! Hes better than AK!

    • Anonymous says:

      Put the weed down.

    • Diane Doyle says:

      AK keeps taking penalties. But then he scores a goal which helps his case for staying in the lineup. While, as of late, if Mantha didn’t have bad luck with regard to scoring, he’d have no luck at all

  5. Anonymous says:

    He just looks like he’s not interested. Every post his wife posts on IG he is flat on his back.

  6. Diane Doyle says:

    Now I’m wondering. Might we see a trade in the works. If Mantha is too low in the team’s pecking order for forwards, could they trade him for a couple of picks/prospects. Figure he should be worth a 2nd and 3rd rounder. Or draft pick and the rights to a prospect. If that trading partner isn’t a contender, they could flip him at the deadline.

    • KimRB says:

      I’d be delighted to get a 2nd & 3rd for him. I don’t see it happening, though. Not every GM is as stupid as our own Brian McClellan, and will give up a king’s ransom for him

  7. KimRB says:

    I hear the KHL is hiring

    My least favorite Capital…besides Irwin

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would be all for a trade if only to gain important cap space for next year if they are wanting to re sign Strome and Milano, Gust etc…

    • Anonymous says:

      He and/or Eller

    • dwgie26 says:

      Lavi definitely prioritizes work ethic and responsible play. He’s has many to play the 4LW role. Sheary was good. Snively couldn’t do it. Mojo did fine. Mantha did not.

      Mantha is a very good top 6 player but still paid too much. But if deployed by another team in top 6 and on PP1 he could have some good trade value and would likely do well in that role.

      But yeah, he is not going to fit here with Lavi any more. He has too many other options. So trade him and get a RD.

      • KimRB says:

        Mantha makes $5.7 M. Strome, Milano and Mojo make that combined. Mantha has 23 points, the 3 aforementioned players have 70.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Stats go out the window if you’re pausing off the coach. – see “Jakub Vrana”

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