The Red Wings have announced the move to extend a $6.6 million deal for 2 years with the restricted free agent Wednesday, retaining the 23-year-old wing after he led the team with 24 goals last season.
“He had a good year, we need him to take a step, he’s got that potential, that ability,” Holland said. “Once you play 100 games you get a good idea what this league is all about. He’s got a good idea what he needs to do in the summer to take his game to another level.”
Mantha had 48 points in 80 games last season. He has 43 goals and 44 assists in two-plus seasons with the Red Wings. Detroit drafted him 20th overall in 2013.
“When he scored 80 goals his last year in juniors (including playoffs), he scored lots of goals off the rush,” general manager Ken Holland said after the season. “He’d come down and shoot the puck in the net. That’s not this league. There are guys who score 40, 40-plus, but it’s a hard league. He went to the American League and he’s learned to cycle more, learned to be heavier on the puck, learned to compete harder.
Mantha told reporters of the Detroit Free Press, “You want to play playoff hockey, you want to be winning, you want to have fun with the group of guys around the dressing room, with the coaching staff and even the owners.
He added, “We need to step it up next year. We want to have fun while winning and that’s going to be our main goal. I didn’t reach the goals I wanted personally and as a team also we didn’t reach them, but just, in general, I think it’s been a big learning year for me and I took steps forward.”
The Red Wings re-signed restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou last year with a two-year contract.
Their next task is completing negotiations with restricted free agent Dylan Larkin on a multiyear contract.