I have heard a number of expressions in reference to the Detroit Red Wings in the last few years. I have heard Detroit only adds to their team through free agency, the Red Wings are too old, and the Detroit Red Wings might as well have a Swedish Embassy in their arena. The Red Wings are, in fact, the 2nd oldest team in the NHL with an average player age of 29.16 years old (2nd to the Devils at 29.38). However, there are two 2013 draftees that I am excited to tell you about, and yes… one of them is a Swede!
I’m going to start with 20 year old Swede, Mattias Janmark. The 6’1”, 190 pound Swede has 19 points (12G,7A) in the first 19 games for AIK in the Swedish Hockey League. His 12 goals put him one goal behind the league lead, and his 19 points have him at 6th place in the league for points. However, there is one stat that impresses me even more than his scoring ability and that is the fact that he leads all forwards in the SHL in time on ice per game (TOI/G) with an impressive 21:25 minutes per game. What this tells me is that not only is he an impressive scorer, but he can also be counted on for top line minutes, and can be relied on in any game situation…. already… at 20 years old. That’s great news for hockey fans in Detroit!
If that doesn’t get excite you… I have even better news for Wings fans. Anthony Mantha, the Red Wings 2013 1st round draft pick, is doing an even better job in the QMJHL. The QMJHL has produced big name talent for the NHL the last few years with Jonathan Huberdeau, Nathan MacKinnon, and Jonathan Drouin. The next big thing to come out of the Q certainly seems to be 6’4″ 190lb. Anthony Mantha. Mantha started to impress at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament where he had 5 points (3G,2A) in 4 games on 17 shots against fellow up and coming prospects in the NHL. Mantha played about 12 minutes in one preseason game for the Wings before being sent back to the Q where he promptly scored a hat-trick on his first night back with the Val-d’Or Foreurs. Anthony hasn’t taken his foot off the pedal since, being held scoreless in only one of his 17 games played. He leads the QMJHL in points and goals with 43 points (20G,23A) on 108 shots in those 17 games. That is 2.53 points per game on 6.35 shots per game (Oh… 4 of his goals are shorthanded too).
The Red Wings already have a handful of promising prospects in the AHL and NHL like Jurco, Nyquist, Frk, Ouellet, Smith, and Dekeyser to name a few. Add to those guys the talented Anthony Mantha and Mattias Janmark, and you have proof that when some of the 35+ year old players like Alfredsson, Bertuzzi, Samuelsson, and Datsyuk are ready to hang up their skates, the Red Wings have a few guys that are hungry and ready to take their place.