The Washington Capitals have acquired forward Anthony Mantha from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for forwards Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik, plus a 2021 1st round pick and a 2022 2nd round draft pick.
A last minute shocker to the hockey world, this is the big splash of Washington's deadline, after missing out on other wingers. Mantha is a great, first line winger who is on a great contract. However, injuries have often been an issue for him. He goes to a much better team after years of suffering with the Red Wings. Mantha is signed for two more years after this year, with a $5.7 million cap hit. However, the price is way too much. Panik could be seen as a cap dump, as he is owed $2.75 million for two years after this year. However, Vrana scores just as much as Mantha, and is younger. Vrana and Panik for Mantha would be a good trade, but after adding the picks, the Caps give up a lot. Still, this should benefit their team for this year and the next few afterwards. They also get to avoid pending RFA negotiations with Vrana.
Mantha, 26, has scored 11 goals with 10 assists for 21 points in 42 games for the Red Wings this year. In his NHL career, all in Detroit, Mantha has scored 95 goals with 99 assists for 94 points in 302 games.
This is a great trade for the Red Wings. Mantha was a part of their core, but they could not do any better for a return. They do have to take on Panik's contract, but he is still a decent bottom-six winger who gives them value. By the time the Red Wings are competitive again, Panik's contract will be over. They also get Vrana, who is a legitimate top-six winger, like Mantha. He is slightly younger, and they can pick his next contract, as he becomes a UFA after having a $3.35 million cap hit this year. They also get two quality draft picks to improve their farm system. Overall, this is a great trade by GM Steve Yzerman.
Vrana, 25, has scored 11 goals with 14 assists for 25 points in 39 games for the Capitals this year. In his NHL career, all in Washington, Vrana has scored 76 goals with 81 assists for 157 points in 284 games.
Panik, 30, has scored three goals with six assists for nine points in 30 games for the Capitals this year. In his NHL career for Washington, the Arizona Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs, Panik has scored 87 goals with 103 assists for 190 points in 530 games.