The Rangers drafted their first defenseman of the draft with their 104th overall pick, and it’s Ryan Mantha out of the USHL.
Unrelated to Detroit Red Wings’ prospect Anthony Mantha, I’ve never seen him play, so I can’t comment on his game. Here’s what I can tell you, though. He’s absolutely massive; 6’5 and 225 pounds. Those guys typically take longer to develop, but obviously can be invaluable at the NHL level. This season he had two goals and seven assists with the Indiana Ice.
Here’s what Chris Peters of United States of Hockey says about him:
@Herman_NYRBlog Big kid, physical, but needs a fair amount of work. Not much offensive ability, but decent D sense. Long-term prospect.
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) June 28, 2014
Here is Bill Paczek of Draftsite.com:
“Has been man-sized since he was 16, and was converted to a dee-man due to his size and temperament. Has a big hard shot, and is good at getting the puck to his mates. He will need more lateral ability to close better, but he does a fine job of clearing the front and protecting teammates. Was named to the USA Developmental team playing in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament. Was named to the U.S. World Junior A roster for the Junior A Challenge.”
Here’s Future Considerations:
“Mantha has impressive size, but he often has an issue using it. Mantha doesn’t show enough willingness game in and game out to use his size to his fullest advantage. He doesn’t play the toughest brand of defense, and it costs him from time to time when he fails to put a body on a player. He mostly relies on his reach and strong defensive stick to make plays. He does a very good job at stealing lanes with his stick, and at interrupting forwards who attempt to take the puck down the wing. He is most effective on the PK when he gets his stick in good position to steal the middle of the ice and prevent puck movement. He is a smart player defensively, and doesn’t often stray from position, but if he can add some consistency to his physical game, he’d be more effective.”
Obviously, Mantha needs to use his size to become effective. Nonetheless, that’s relatively easy to impose onto a player. The skating is the far bigger concern for all hulking defensemen, but Mantha apparently is a good skater for his size. No doubt that this is a project pick, but in the 4th round and later you’re not going to find many “safe” picks. Mantha is committed to play for the University of North Dakota, but could instead opt to play in the OHL for the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds.
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