The Detroit Red Wings pulled off an absolute whale of a trade on Monday afternoon, sending talented but underachieving winger Anthony Mantha to the Washington Capitals in exchange for forwards Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, and a 1st round (2021) and 2nd round (2022) draft selections.
The move jettisons Mantha from Detroit less than a year into his 4-year contract he signed last November.
Shortly after the move was announced, GM Steve Yzerman joined media members to discuss the move, explaining why the decision was made to move on from Mantha so soon after a contract was signed.
“You look around the league, there’s a lot of really good players that are having funny years,” Yzerman said. “Some guys are having unbelievable years and there’s some really good players that we would all say are underperforming. This is a chance for us to get a similar-age player. We felt like we can get a replacement for Anthony and add prospects or picks as well. Just kind of was a fit for a trade.”
Of course, Mantha was sent a message earlier in the season by being named a healthy scratch. He’s consistently underperformed this season, and the team decided to move on.
“I think Anthony Mantha’s a very talented hockey player and I hope he does well, and I expect him to do well in Washington. Ultimately, this trade makes sense for us in the near term and moving forward. We get a player that goes into our lineup, that can play a similar role, and still accomplish what we’re trying to do and that’s add to the pipeline.”
The great part about the haul Detroit received in return is that it adds to their already large selection of draft picks coming up the next two seasons (12 this season, nine in 2022), as well as receiving a player who is comparable to Mantha.
“We’re trying to add draft picks and prospects to expedite in the rebuild and this was an opportunity to acquire picks but still keep our team as competitive as possible,” Yzerman said. “We feel like we got a replacement for the offense that we’re losing, trading Anthony and acquiring Jakub, they play in a similar role, as well as Richard Panik, who can play in a variety of roles, as well as draft picks.”
“I think it’s fair to say both of them were underperforming their historic statistics or personal stats, their goal scoring, point production,” Yzerman said. “(Vrana) was on a very good team in Washington, so we’re hoping that he can play a bigger role on our team and thrive in that.”
Vrana enjoyed his best offensive output last season, scoring 25 goals with 27 assists; he’s tallied 11 goals with 14 assists in 39 games this year. He’s a restricted free-agent at season’s end.
– – Quotes via Ansar Khan of MLive Link – –