Anthony Mantha has learned quite a bit writes the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James. She writes that his rise in scoring is tied to his work ethic, which included an improvement to his skating and notes that the 23-year-old hasn’t gone more than three games without a goal. Paired with 21-year-old Dylan Larkin often this year, much has been made about how the younger generation needs to take the torch and lead the rebuilding Red Wings into a new era. Mantha has 13 points in 16 games (7-6) while Larkin has 14 points (2-12). Mantha is on pace to become the goal scorer the Red Wings envisioned him to be when they drafted him in 2013. With both playing well, and having Andreas Athanasiou back, the younger kids are injecting much needed speed and skill into the lineup.
- St. James continues, reporting that while winger Tyler Bertuzzi is closer to return, a spot in Detroit isn’t as open as it once was. With newly acquired Scott Wilson bringing “grit” and with Detroit winning more than losing recently, it will take some change for him to be re-inserted into the lineup. St. James indicates that Bertuzzi and 2015 first round pick Evgeny Svechnikov are the top candidates to be shuttled to Detroit when changes are needed.
- As for head coach Jeff Blashill, St. James indicates that a recent winning streak and stronger play, especially on the road, have taken some pressure off of the bench boss. She points out that after they finish up their road trip, Detroit has 13 of its next 15 games at home. Should Detroit play well during that stretch, St. James believes that a playoff berth could be within reach.