Ryan Mantha Oilers’ potential career has never been lucky


Defender Ryan Mantha’s contract with the Edmonton Oilers expires on June 30 and, unfortunately, we hardly knew you because your career was derailed by a blood clot in your eye.

He has only played 43 games in Bakersfield, his left eye damaged in an AHL game on February 2, 2018 against the Iowa Wild. He hasn’t played since.

Mantha, whose uncle Moe played 25 games here in 1988, was a unique story in March 2017, when the Edmonton Oilers signed the 20-year free agent contract for 20 years. They outbid several NHL teams because he was a right-footed defender, six feet five inches and 229 pounds and could beat the puck. He was the captain of the Niagara IceDogs in a junior team with the current Oilers farm wing Kirill Maksimov. It was a very intriguing pickup after being first drafted by the New York Rangers in the fourth round in 2014, but they saw no need to keep it.

“He really found his progress in not signing with the Rangers and his major junior before signing with the Oilers to be very good,” said Craig Button, expert at the NHL Entry Draft. “He got into his game and was very effective in many ways.”

Unfortunately, Mantha suffered from the blood clot after taking a pass from current Oilers winger Patrick Russell and attempting to discharge a shot when an opposing Iowa player was about to bite him. All of a sudden, he couldn’t see when he was trying to defend a three-on-two breakout that followed with his partner, Keegan Lowe. He retained his peripheral vision the next day, but not his immediate vision due to damage to the central retinal artery, which carries oxygen-rich blood to the retina.

Mantha celebrates its 24th birthday in two months. His promising professional career has never had a chance to gain momentum due to a medical situation that came out of nowhere in a harmless game that occurs countless times during a game.

“I thought, ‘What’s going on? “I didn’t feel anything,” said Mantha, in a story a few months after the blood clot.

It was not like taking a puck in the eye or a stick under his visor. It was a game two-thirds of its first professional season. And with the big kid out of training, the organization got a lot deeper among young defensemen with the additions of Evan Bouchard, Dmitry Samorukov and Philip Broberg.

It was not like former Oilers defenseman Ryan McGill, currently an assistant coach in Vegas, who took a puck in his left eye on April 5, 1995, in Anaheim, six weeks after turning 26. He never played another game. McGill, legally blind in the left eye, has played at least 151 games in the NHL.

“Ryan (Mantha) had a solid development season in the American League before the blood clot. He showed all the signs of a good solid player who was consistent, not flashy, but consistent. To me, that was a positive signal as an NHL prospect, “said Button. “He is a great young man. “

When Oilers general manager Ken Holland was general manager of Detroit, the Red Wings were part of the NHL teams interested in recruiting Mantha, from Clarkston, Michigan, 45 minutes from Detroit. This is also where Kid Rock comes from.

This is only: The Oilers signed Swedish selection defender Filip Berglund, but he will stay with his club team Linkoping for the coming season and he could come in 2021 … (10 points, 58 games) in depth. If it’s the same $ 875,000 one-way trip as Joakim Nygard, they could do it… The Oilers kicked center / winger Mikhail Grigorenko, but the independent striker signed a contract for a year in Columbus. Interestingly, he signed for $ 1.2 million, very close to what the Oilers were offering to Anton Slepyshev, CSKA’s Grigorenko teammate for a possible return from Russia, but he resurfaced with CSKA… the George team president / winger Graham’s son George McPhee, who graduated from Boston College this year after the Oilers drafted him in the fifth round in 2016, is still on their radar to sign. But more than likely it’s only for an NHL contract, not an NHL contract… Scott Howson having officially started as president of the NHL on May 1, the Oilers are now looking a new player development director. I wonder if they would consider former Oilers winger Dan Cleary, who is Shawn Horcoff’s assistant in player development with the Red Wings? Holland has certainly known Cleary since his days in Detroit.

Email: [email protected]

On Twitter: @NHLbyMatty


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