For the Edmonton Oilers, Ryan Mantha was a defensive prospect that came with plenty of promise and potential when he was signed as a free agent with the organization in March of 2017. That was, of course, before a devasting eye injury shut him down for the remainder of the 2017-18 season, putting his hockey future at risk entirely. Though his future remains unclear, Mantha has stated multiple times over the past months that he has not yet given up his dream of playing professional hockey and thus we will not give up on him until something is made official.
Position: Defence — Shoots: Right
Born: June 18th, 1996 — City: Clarkston, MI, USA
Height: 6 feet 05 inches — Weight: 225 lbs [196 cm/102 kg]
Drafted: 104th overall (4th round) in 2014 by NYR
Junior Team: Niagara IceDogs — League: OHL
Current Team: Bakersfield Condors — League: AHL
Jameson Ewasiuk looked at Mantha’s 2017-18 season that was cut short by a devastating eye injury:
Mantha’s first season in the AHL definitely didn’t go as planned. On February 2nd the young defenseman suddenly lost sight in his left eye due to a blood clot and sustained damage to the central retinal artery. There can be permanent vision loss and at this point the only reports are that Mantha has gained peripheral vision but not his straight ahead vision. Obviously eye damage can have a major effect on a player’s hockey career but it doesn’t necessarily mean his career is over. Players like Bryan Berard and Carl Soderberg both sustained significant eye damage in their careers and still played in the NHL. Mantha’s development could potentially take a step backwards but there is still potential with this player. His huge body, big slap shot and willingness to contribute offensively are definitely intriguing. Before his injury, Mantha was learning to defend at the faster pro level and learning how to use his body more to his advantage. If Mantha does continue playing there will likely be an adjustment period but he should see more offensive opportunities next season.
With great size, Mantha is big and can move the puck, which are his greatest virtues. The problem for him has been defensive play, as he is frequently beaten due to lack of foot speed and poor positioning.
OHL Scout Brock Otten described Mantha’s game like this:
Mantha possesses an absolutely lethal point shot; just a booming cannon from the point. And he shot often this year (he led the entire OHL in shots). But he was aggressive in attacking the offensive zone, using his size to barrel down the ice to drive across the opponent’s blueline. It’s clear he really worked on his skating. And defensively, he was much more aggressive in using his size in the corners and in front of the net. His overall agility will never be a major strength, so being able to put himself in the right position and being able to really physically punish guys was an important step forward for him to take.
1) Jim Matheson profiled Mantha earlier in the summer as he continues to recover from the eye injury that derailed his 2017-18 season and has not yet ruled out the possibility of returning to hockey.
2) CBS Sports talked about Mantha’s health concerns, and how he’s doing in his recovery.
3) Ryan Mantha spoke to the Oilers in December of 2017 about signing with the franchise and what kind of player he hopes to be.
- Ranked #59 by ISS Hockey
- Ranked #206 by Future Considerations
VIDEO AND HIGHLIGHTS
Once again, Edmonton Future Watch put together a wonderful compilation of Mantha’s highlights from the 2017-18 season:
Mantha’s first professional goal with the Condors:
The Oilers did a nice feature on Mantha and his life in the minors:
|2009-10||Little Caesars Bantam Minor AAA||T1EMBHL||31||2||5||7||40|
|2010-11||Little Caesars Bantam Major AAA||T1EBHL||28||4||10||14||29|
|Little Caesars U16||T1EHL U16||4||2|
|2011-12||Belle Tire U16||T1EHL U16||38||8||14||22||41|
|2012-13||Sioux City Musketeers||USHL||52||1||6||7||48||15|
|2013-14||Sioux City Musketeers||USHL||29||1||5||6||51|
|2016-17||Niagara IceDogs “C”||OHL||65||17||41||58||70||-17||4||2||2||4||8||-5|
|2011-12||Belle Tire U15||WSI U15||6|
|2013-14||USA U18||Hlinka Gretzky Cup||5||1||1||27||2|