Anthony Mantha dreams of health, but also of a 30-goal season

Anthony Mantha dreams of health, but also of a season of 30 goals


WASHINGTON | “Hello how are you? I also speak a little French, but not as well as Moe. On this Saturday morning at the Capitals' training complex in Arlington, Virginia, Evgeny Kuznetsov is having fun with his teammate and neighbor of three or four lockers, Anthony Mantha.  

Kuznetsov has already taken French lessons in Russia, but he suspected that it would not be the focus of Quebec journalists a few hours before the visit of the Canadian in the American capital. 

Moe is Mantha's nickname, a nod to the former Winnipeg Jets and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman in the 80s. 

Mantha quickly set the tone to the conversation. For this 2022-2023 season, the big 28-year-old winger will want to avoid the infirmary at all costs.  

“Health is very important to me this year,” he admitted. My goal is to play 77 games and more. At 77 games, we're talking about a pretty full season. It's been a long year, I really wish myself to stay healthy.”

It's quite rare to see an NHL player directly quantify a goal to achieve. It's even rarer to see a player talking about 77 games.  

“I love this number! He probably said it to please me, replied winger T.J. Oshie who wears the 77 with the Caps. I've had my share of injuries since I started in the NHL and I can relate to its reality. He is right to wish himself well. It's cliché, but the best way to avoid injury is to play without trying to avoid injury.”

Four months

Operated on a shoulder at the beginning of November last year, Mantha was absent for a long period of 45 games. 

“Last year was my most difficult injury,” said the former Detroit Red Wings 2013 first-round pick. guys. I was moving between the house and the arena, but I hardly saw my teammates since I was doing my exercises for rehabilitation before or after practices.” 

“I played well for the last 20 games of the season and I thought I had some juice in the playoffs. Mentally, it's difficult when you go a long time without playing. Physically, you have to work really hard to come back from surgery.”

A scorer

Mantha doesn't just have his eyes on a season practically complete, he also wants to fill the net. Since his debut in the NHL, he has been described as a winger with the potential to score 30 or more goals. He had 24- and 25-goal seasons with the Wings, but never made it to his thirties. 

“A 30-goal season is my goal too,” he said he replied. I won't lie. Is this achievable? If I stay healthy, I think so. I just need to stay healthy. And I will need to believe that.”

In Oshie's eyes, Mantha has the talent to make it happen. 

“I truly believe he can score 30 goals, mentioned the 35-year-old American. If he's healthy for a full season, the 30-goal plateau is more the floor than the ceiling for Moe.”