The Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Mantha, a right-handed defenseman, and captain of the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs is having his best season to date and to top it off the coaches of the opposing teams have recognized this in the annual OHL Coaches Poll.
What is the OHL Coaches Poll? Ripped straight from the OHL’s website, it says:
The OHL Coaches Poll provides member club coaches with the opportunity to recognize the top three players in 20 different skill categories within their own conference.
Ryan Mantha was actually ranked in FOUR categories in his conference (the most of any player) and those categories were:
- Best Defensive Defenseman (1st)
- Best Shot (2nd) – Behind Owen Tippett and if you’ve seen Tippett’s shot (It’s incredible), you know how good that must make Mantha’s.
- Most Improved Player (tied for 1st)
- Best Offensive Defenseman (2nd)
Admittedly, I don’t follow junior hockey closely apart from the weekly gander at the top draft prospects but it sounds like Mantha is a dominant player at the junior level and if he’s thought of so highly by the other coaches in the league, might we infer that he’s the best defenseman in the OHL right now? Honestly, look at the categories he’s ranking so highly in.
Using Christian Roatis’ NHLe calculator, his NHLe for this season would be 25 pts and IF that were to translate to real life, Mantha would be 4th in rookie scoring for defensemen, tied with Ivan Provorov and ahead of others such as Jakob Chychrun, Josh Morrisey, and Brandon Carlo.
Draft Guru Steve Kournianos had this to say about Mantha on Twitter today:
I gotta say, I like the sounds of that scouting report. This is definitely the kind of player the Oilers system is lacking and it’s about time Edmonton starts stacking its minor league club with quality prospects instead of AHL vets. I can understand signing a career minor leaguer who could play bottom 6 or bottom pairing but I believe that the most impactful TOI should be given to the prospects and that developing the players should be the ultimate goal NOT winning because if it’s done right, the winning will be a result of proper development.
Next season will most likely see Bakersfield welcome Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear, and potentially William Lagesson to their club AS WELL AS Ryan Mantha, I mean, barring any trades of course.
The future does indeed look bright and I, for one, am looking forward to finally cheering for a club that will draft and develop their assets properly. Something that can’t really be said for previous regimes.
What do you think about Mantha? Have you seen him play?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!