It's not proper to treat a draft profile with misdirection and (poor) humor, but we can't go through lists of teenage names without some incivility.
So there you have it: The first question NHL fans of a certain age would have about Anthony Mantha is whether he is related to the former Jet, North Star and Penguin Moe Mantha, carrier of many fine mustaches. (Or of you're of a less certain age, Sylvio Mantha.)
The answer in both cases is no.
So damn, we can't use the old "NHL bloodlines" trope.
Ah but wait, yes we can! Mantha is the grandson of former NHLer Andre Provonost and great nephew of Andre's brothers Marcel, Claude and Jean. So, bloodlines!
The real question for Mantha The Youngest is how much his breakout 2012-13 should be looked at with raised mustache thanks to him really being Mantha The Eldest.
You see, Mantha was born just one day after the cutoff for the 2012 draft, making him an elder statesman of sorts in the 2013 draft class. (Not that a similar age hurt John Tavares any, but come on: That's John Tavares.)
Mantha's prior season was not Tavares-like, but it was none too shabby:
Note that Mantha then more than doubled his goal total in his draft year and continued that in the playoffs for a Val-d'Or team that made some noise in the QMJHL. An "old" 18 or not, that's one fine year.
If you're into draft prospects and aren't reading Scott Reynolds' comparables series at Copper & Blue, you should check it out. In his Mantha write-up Reynolds notes how Mantha's 55 goals this season have him in rare historic (adjusted for era) company, but his age and eyeball scouting is what keeps him from being higher up in the average rankings.
24: The Hockey News
22: Hockey Prospectus (Pronman)
10 (NA): Central Scouting
The Scouting Report, November 2012:
Anthony Mantha brings all the physical traits a scout can ask for: size, smooth, coordinated skating and strength. You could group Mantha in with a few other names like Alexsander Barkov and Seth Jones whose freakish athleticism would see them suceed in almost any sport. Athleticism is not all Mantha brings to the table however - an innate ability to read the play from the perimeter, soft hands and an elite shot have helped Mantha cement his status as a 1st round talent...
The Scouting Report, March 2013:
...tantalizing combination of size and scoring ability ... ability to dominate games ... needs to improve consistency ... only shows flashes of physicality for a player of his size...
Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau:
He can skate, he's smart, he reads the play, he has everything. But if there's one negative, he sometimes has a tendency to take the easy way out.
Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus:
... a well above-average skater for a big man. He picks up speed quickly, with a certain smoothness in his skating technique. That skating ability, combined with his 6'4" frame, makes him an intriguing physical package. He does possess some skill, but he is more of a good thinker than a fancy puck handler. He can slow the game down, and he exhibits good calmness, often finding the right plays to make with the puck. ...
Neate Sager, Yahoo's Buzzing the Net:
He acknowledges that he needs to improve at using his frame in tight quarters to help win battles and protect the puck. That would seem to be the distinct difference between Mantha this season and another QMJHL power forward with a late birthday, former Drummondville Voltigeurs star Sean Couturier, who went No. 8 overall in 2011 and went directly to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Hockey News Draft Preview:
He might be the draft's purest scorer, but many guys with inferior stats get more love. "He's not the most eager kid," one scout said. "Some nights you wonder where the intensity is." ... said another: "A guy who is one-shot dangerous. It's amazing to me that I see a guy so gifted and hear so much negativity about him. I'd take him in a heartbeat."
You Be the GM
With the Islanders selecting at 15, they aren't in "star" territory. They might look for someone who has high-end skill but who drops for reasons that may largely be in the eye of the beholder. Could Mantha be that guy? Does his rapid growth over the past two years say more "Strome" and less "fluke freak of size"?
Or do questions of "intensity" and using his size -- as well as any other real or perceived character knocks -- keep him off their list if he's still around midway through the first round?