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Knights acquire veteran forward from Capitals for 2 draft picks

Updated March 5, 2024 - 7:21 pm

The Golden Knights acquired right wing Anthony Mantha from the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, giving the team a boost a few days ahead of the NHL trade deadline.

Mantha has 20 goals and 34 points in 56 games for the Capitals this season. He is in the last year of his contract and has a $5.7 million salary-cap hit, though Washington will retain half of it.

The Knights (33-22-7) entered Tuesday with about $7.3 million in financial flexibility. That means they should still have enough wiggle room to make additional moves before Friday’s deadline.

The Knights sent the Capitals a 2024 second-round pick and a 2026 fourth-round pick in the deal.

Mantha, 29, was the Detroit Red Wings’ first-round pick in 2013. He has 139 goals and 286 points in 476 career NHL games. His 6-foot-5 frame will add even more size to the Knights’ forward group.

This is the second time in Mantha’s career he’s moved before the deadline. He was traded from Detroit to Washington in 2021, though he said recently another trade wouldn’t feel the same.

This time around he’ll have to uproot his family, including his pregnant wife, Caitlyn, and their young daughter, Naomie.

“It’s a little different this year, I would say,” Mantha said last week. “My first trade, I wasn’t quite expecting anything of it. I obviously didn’t have a wife or daughter also at that time. I was with Caitlyn, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just a little different with a daughter in play and the unknown.”

Mantha’s arrival should boost a forward group that’s been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks.

Captain Mark Stone was moved to long-term injured reserve Monday with an upper-body injury. Left wing William Carrier hasn’t played since Jan. 4 with a shoulder injury. Left wing Pavel Dorofeyev has been out since Jan. 26 after being elbowed in the head. Center Brett Howden has missed six straight games with an upper-body injury.

The Knights at least welcomed center Jack Eichel back to the lineup Monday for the first time since Jan. 11 because of a lower-body injury that required surgery.

Mantha will help, though players on the current roster will still need to perform better to defend the team’s Stanley Cup championship.

The Knights are 2-7-1 their last 10 games. They’re also giving up goals at an alarming rate, which caused them to slip to third place in the Pacific Division standings entering Tuesday.

Coach Bruce Cassidy is trying to right the ship. He also believes there are times when players have to figure things out themselves.

“I can yell and scream all I want and I can try to give them positive reinforcement. We can do both,” Cassidy said after Monday’s 6-3 loss to Columbus. “You can show video of good things and bad things, but compete comes from within the individual. I think you can coax it out of them at times, certain times of the year for a period here or there or a game and you can do the rah-rah stuff. But if they don’t want it, it’s tough.

“That’s what it looks like to me. You have to want it and that comes from within and you have to find it.”

The Knights will need to find their fire in time for Thursday’s matchup with the Pacific-leading Vancouver Canucks. They could have a new forward in the lineup by then, and it remains to be seen what other moves their front office will make by Friday.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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