Six months later, who won the Mantha/Vrana trade?

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: Capitals right wing Anthony Mantha (39) waits for a face-off during the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals National Hockey League game on October 16, 2021 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tonight, the Capitals face the Detroit Red Wings for the first time since the April trade that saw each team send away talented forwards. Let’s look back at the specifics and see who has won the trade in the short-term.

Washington acquires: Anthony Mantha

Detroit acquires: Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick

The trade itself was another in a long list of trade deadline moves committed by Washington GM Brian MacLellan to aid a playoff run. Mantha made an immediate impact, scoring goals in his first four games. 

However, his production tapered off as Mantha managed just three points the rest of the season and two points in the playoffs. This season, Mantha has four points (2g, 2a) as the team’s second-line left winger.

The Red Wings received quite a haul for Mantha, expecting Vrana to produce both in the short-term and in future seasons. Panik’s inclusion was necessary for the Capitals to remain under the cap. Adding Panik also forced Washington to include the draft picks to help grease the skids.

Vrana also had a strong start to his new team, scoring seven goals, including a four-goal performance in his second game as a Red Wing. Vrana became the first Red Wings to score four goals in a game since…..Anthony Mantha.

There was a lot of potential surrounding Vrana heading into this season after he signed a three-year contract worth $5.25 million per year.

That potential was subdued when Vrana suffered a shoulder injury in his first practice of the season. Vrana had to undergo surgery that will keep him out for at least four months.

Panik’s time in Detroit was brief as he was not brought back after last season. He was traded to the Islanders in the offseason and currently plays in the AHL.

The Red Wings traded the first-round pick acquired by the Capitals to Dallas, which the Stars used to take center Wyatt Johnson. Detroit traded up with Dallas to take goalie Sebastian Cossa. Both players currently play for their respective junior league teams.

It’s too early to tell who won the trade in the long-term. Looking back at this point, this is a trade where both sides have benefited.

Vrana received a much needed change of scenery. The Capitals get a more productive forward to help their quest for a second championship and the Red Wings have a forward they can expect to suit up for them for the next decade.

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