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Mantha signs two-year deal

July 11, 2018, 10:36 PM ET [21 Comments]
Bob Duff
Detroit Red Wings Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It’s wise to set goals. It’s even wiser set up goals for the future.

Lately, the Detroit Red Wings continue to do both. In the past week or so, they’ve locked up the potential for about 60 goals into the lineup, perhaps as early as the 2018-19 NHL season.

Wednesday, the Wings and restricted free agent right wing Anthony Mantha agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth $6.6 million, with an annual cap hit of $3.3 million. Mantha led the Wings last season with 24 goals.

In the previous week, they’ve also got center Andreas Athanasiou’s name on a pact. He was a 16-goal scorer last season. As well, forward Filip Zadina, the club’s top pick in the 2018 NHL entry draft, inked a three-year entry-level deal.

There are some within the organization who feel that Zadina is already the best natural goal scorer on the Detroit roster and who wouldn’t be surprised to see him be good for 20 goals as a rookie.

On the team that has struggled to illuminate red lamps behind enemy nets the past two seasons, all three of these signings could prove valuable, especially if Mantha and Athanasiou continue to take forward steps in their development.

“Finding a way to get that extra one or two goals - if it’s shooting the puck more - I think we could get that up,” Mantha said. “If not, just bringing a better game together, sixty minutes every night. I think we could be a better team pretty quick.

“There is a lot of talent a lot of guys that want to win, so I hope next year is going to be the good one to step forward to just have a better season and make the playoffs.

“All the young players need to step up next year. All the older guys need to step up, so just as a whole our team could get better this off season and come back stronger.”

The Detroit brass is counting on the learning curve to continue to progress upwardly in the case of their kids. Otherwise, the Wings’ downward trend in the standings will continue.

“We’ve got some young people – how good can (2017 first round pick Michael) Rasmussen be?” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “How good can Zadina be? How can good can (forward Tyler) Bertuzzi be? What does Mantha do this year? What does Dylan Larkin do this year? What does Athanasiou do this year?

“Dealing with young people, there’s no track record. So if all those young people I just mentioned can take a little step, we can be relevant. We can try to hang in a playoff place. If not enough of those players take a step forward or there’s some that step backwards, it’s going to affect our ability to compete.”

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