TRAVERSE CITY — All eyes are on Anthony Mantha at Red Wings Development Camp this week.
There are 44 players taking part in the five-day camp that started Friday at Centre ICE, but it is Mantha who is drawing the most attention.
There’s good reason for that, too. The Red Wings’ top pick in the 2013 draft — he was the 20th overall pick — has aspirations of being on the team’s roster when Detroit during the 2014-15 season.
“I came here last year with that mentality (to win a spot),” said the 19-year-old Mantha. “I’ll come back to main camp with that same mentality. You want to be in the NHL one day in your life and as soon as it could come I’ll make every little step to get there.
“I think it’s just being calm, getting out there and doing what I should be doing. If I’m doing the right things I’ll get my chance. Not put any pressure on myself.”
Mantha is coming off a brilliant season for Val-d’or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Michel Briere Memorial Trophy winner in 2014, giving to the Most Valuable Player of the QMJHL, Mantha led the league in scoring when he poured in 57 goals and 63 assists in 57 games for the Foreurs, who won the league’s championship and went on to play in the Memorial Cup. He also was named to the 2014 World Junior Championship All-Star Team after leading his Canada squad in scoring.
“I learned a lot,” Mantha said. “How to manage your time. How to manage (yourself physically and mentally). I think going out there was a great thing for me. A long playoff run. There were a few injuries, battled through and just being champions feels great.”
After a two-week break, Mantha began working out for the upcoming season last week.