Red Wings sign Anthony Mantha to two-year, $6.6M deal

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
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Anthony Mantha led the Red Wings with 24 goals last season.

Detroit — Another one of the Red Wings’ core pieces is in the fold.

Detroit signed forward Anthony Mantha, who was a restricted free agent, Wednesday to a two-year contract.

The contract is worth $6.6 million, with a salary cap hit of $3.3 million per season.

Mantha, who turns 24 on Sept. 16, can still be a restricted free agent when the contract expires in 2020.

Mantha (6-foot-5, 221 pounds) has shown both an ability to score goals — and get into coach Jeff Blashill’s doghouse in his short NHL career.

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Last season, Mantha led the Wings with 24 goals. He added 24 assists in 80 games.

But during his first two NHL seasons, Mantha has been benched or scratched out of the lineup by Blashill for an occasional lapse of work ethic, and not moving his feet on a consistent basis.

Still, the Wings have consistently identified Mantha a major piece of their rebuild going forward.

With Mantha signed, and agreeing to a two-year deal with Andreas Athanasiou last week, that leaves only forward Dylan Larkin unsigned.

Larkin, a restricted free agent, is expected to work out a long-term contract with the Wings, possibly in the five-year range.

Larkin, who's from Waterford and played at Michigan, led the team in scoring last season and has gradually become a young leader on the team.

That would leave general manager Ken Holland with no contract issues for the start of training camp in September.

Last season, Athanasiou, then also a RFA, held out into the regular season.

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