I did some preseason predictions and have Mantha coming in at around 30 goals. Watching his preseason performance has been eye opening. He’s scored 4 goals in 3 games. Twice, he just fired a laser of a shot that flat out beat the goalie. His snapshot and slap shot are both way faster than I remember. Against St Louis he scored a beautiful breakaway goal. He’s battling, and is faster than it seems. At 25 years old he may well be the player we all hoped for when drafted.
I tend to “hedge” predictions and play it very safe. Players get hurt, there are goal droughts and other things that balance out. In my “safety mode” I can see Mantha scoring 20 before the all star break and then 10 more down the stretch. In reality, if he stays healthy and competes hard, he could hit 40 or more.
I will stick with 30 as my prediction knowing that I’m probably underestimating a player who probably has the best “shot” on the team. He’s finding time and space. I will be ecstatic if/when he proves me wrong. This is a difficult time to try and guess success for the Detroit Red Wings. Some parts (our veteran D) are predictably bad. Some parts (our younger prospects) seem to have a higher ceiling than we thought. Seider looks really good, Veleno looks like he’s going to be really good, if Zadina can find his game at the pro level it would be huge. Hronek and Cholowski both look good in the preseason. Rasmussen seems to have gotten stronger and all has 4 goals. Bowey looks really good at times.
Preseason is the warmup. Everyone can fall off and disappear the second it counts. Larkin, Mantha, Bertuzzi and Athanasiou are the players I think will bring it all season. Everyone else is a question mark right now, whether that’s fair or not. We’ll heave to see.