Anthony Mantha is quickly become a household name in Detroit — one you might reminisce about with your grandchildren one day. Having been a regular on the NHL roster since 2016-17, its crazy to think Mantha is already approaching 250 career games played. Since being drafted by the Red Wings in 2013, “The Flying Frenchman” has dazzled Hockeytown with so many memorable highlights, proving his doubters wrong along the way.
Now that Mantha is finally realizing his full potential, I thought it would be fun to look back on some of the best moments of his career (some of which are from this season!). Not just to marvel at his skill level, but to share some smiles seeing old names like Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar, Martin Frk, and so many more. It really puts into perspective just how far Mantha has come.
Don’t forget to let me know what you think of the rankings! Any big omissions (there were too many highlights to keep track of!) or whiffs on my part? Nonetheless, I think this list will need plenty of adjusting in the future, as Big Mo is just getting started….
10. Two goals in 70 seconds
Starting off the list comes from the tail-end of Mantha’s rookie season. The then 22-year-old emerged as a talented scorer that year, potting 15 goals heading into a March contest with the Carolina Hurricanes. Mantha left his mark on the game midway through, scoring two breakaway goals in the span of 70 seconds.
9. Pittsburgh Goal
What makes Mantha so talented is his rare skating ability for a man his size. There are very few players his size, if any, who can move the way he does. Its what makes sequences like the one below so unique. Mantha turns on the jets to outrace two defenders to the loose puck.
This kind of stuff doesn’t grow on trees, people.
Anthony Mantha just scored his 6th goal in 6 games , and the Red Wings lead 3-1 in the 3rd!
— FOX Sports Detroit (@FOXSportsDet) April 3, 2019
8. Calgary Assist
Mantha had a big day in November of 2017. The right winger registered a goal and two assists in a trip to Calgary, in what has been a signature performance in his young NHL career. The highlight of the night came on his second assist — an unreal cross zone feed off the backhand. This, coming after a fancy little play to enter the zone.
This pass is just absurd.
— Wings Gifs (@wings_gifs) November 10, 2017
7. Vegas Go-Ahead Goal
The play that inspired this list! Mantha’s heroics Sunday night against Vegas was certainly one to remember. Tied 2-2 with under a minute to play, the game seemed destined for overtime. It was a night of little action from either team. Nevertheless, Mantha stepped up, taking a cross-ice feed from Robby Fabbri and sniping one past Malcolm Subban.
The building was electric, as Mantha’s go-ahead goal was the dagger that clinched Detroit the victory.
— NHL (@NHL) November 11, 2019
6. First LCA Goal
Mantha will forever be in the history books, being the first player to ever score a goal at Little Caesars Arena (technically). See, the Minnesota Wild scored two goals earlier in the game, both of which were waived off. The Wings were in great need of a spark at that point, and Mantha delivered.
The play starts with Zetterberg leading the powerplay with a zone entry, and ends with Mantha cleaning up a Martin Frk rebound. This feels like it happened just yesterday.
5. Opening Night Goal in Nashville
Another highlight from this season! The Red Wings opened up the 2019-20 season red hot, starting with a big win in Nashville. The top-line of Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Mantha stole the show with an incredible performance. The most memorable moment of them all came in the first period off a ridiculous individual effort from the big man himself.
In the words of Ken Kal, he went “Coast to coast like buttered toast!”
— FOX Sports Detroit (@FOXSportsDet) October 6, 2019
Seriously, this goal didn’t get enough recognition for how absurd it is. He went through four Predators! Four!
4. Montreal Overtime Goal
This is where things really start to hit close to home. Everyone knows Mantha is a Quebec boy at heart, so its always a special game for him when the Wings head up to Montreal. He came up huge in front of friends and family, scoring the game winning goal in overtime. The Longueuil, QC., native showed off his nasty pair of hands, absolutely embarrassing Alex Galchenyuk in the process.
With Ken Daniels and Darren Eliot on the call:
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 22, 2017
3. Centennial Classic Comeback
Quite possibly the most dramatic game the Red Wings have been apart of in the last half decade, this outdoor matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs took years off the lives of those watching. As the Maple Leafs broke open the game with a 4-1 lead in the third, this one seemed all but over.
Yet, suddenly, Detroit had life, starting with a Jonathan Ericsson goal set up by Mantha. A late Dylan Larkin tally made it a one goal game, setting the stage for an unreal finish to regulation. After a few last second desperation heaves from Brendan Smith and Tomas Tatar, Mantha was there to jam the rebound home — tying the game as the horn sounded. The rush of emotions during the entire play is one I will never forget.
Relive the madness here:
The result of the game (no I will not say it!) is why this moment only managed to crack number three, but its one hell of a number three. This was really the day Mantha proved he had the potential to be a star in this league. Seeing how he is finally fulfilling that potential can’t not put a smile on your face.
2. First NHL Goal
I so badly wanted to put this one at the top spot. Everything about it is perfect. From scoring his first NHL goal against his hometown team, to the tear in his grandfather’s eye, this was a truly special moment. One that I can’t really put into words.
As Ken Daniels perfectly puts it: “Anthony Mantha, first of many to come.”
1. Four Goal Game
Mantha’s four goal game from this season was a performance for the ages. One that I’m not sure can ever be replicated in the same way ever again. Scoring in yet another home opener, this one was different. The Dallas Stars had no answer for the 6’5” power forward. It almost seemed easy for Mantha, as he blasted shots and danced around the Dallas defense all night. He scored four goals but probably should of had ten. That’s how dominant he was.
To cap off the night with the game winning goal in the final minute, the most exhilarating moment of Mantha’s career was born. The night as a whole was legendary. I’m certain most of this list will change as Mantha enters the prime of his career, but this one is going to stick for a long, long time.