Current Team: Niagara IceDogs
Weight: 225 lbs.
Stats: Five goals, 25 points in 65 CHL games
Drafted: 4th round (104th overall) in the 2014 draft by the Rangers (Camp Invite)
Resume: Mantha is trying to find a new home for himself. The former New York Rangers prospect was let go in June when the team decided to not offer him a contract.
"It's not a step back, but it's another open door that you want to make the best out of," Mantha said.
Now he's fighting to get back on someone's radar. The Sabres are the first camp he's attended since his release, so this week is his first opportunity to catch the eye of a scout since his release.
"I've just got to play my game," Mantha said. "Guys who try too hard often look a little silly."
He stood out in the last man standing shootout competition on Friday. The defenseman had plenty of motivation to work on his hands while playing with the Niagara IceDogs the past two years.
"We do a thing in Niagara called the monthly mustache," Mantha said. "You don't want that mustache because if you can't grow it it's embarrassing."
How would you describe your game?
"I'm a big guy. I'm mobile. I like to make a good first pass and I'm not afraid to be the fourth guy up in the rush. I take pride in getting my shots through to create offense for the forwards."
What player do you model your game after?
"Not really. I watch hockey to learn. As a kid growing up with my dad you watch different guys. You watch Tyler Myers when he was here. You watch P.K. Subban, Kris Letang, guys like that and just try and see what they do well and add it to your game."
What is your greatest hockey accomplishment?
"I won the Clark Cup when I was in the USHL, but even last year making it to the finals with how tough the OHL is. ... Everyone doubted us. We swept Kingston and Barrie, so as a team it was fun to go through that."
What are your goals for this season?
"My goal is to play in the National Hockey League, but you can't just jump right into it. You have to develop. Whatever happens throughout the summer, I'll go from there."
Why do you wear No. 22?
"My grandpa wore No. 2. When I got to Niagara Falls someone was 2, so I went with 22 for my grandpa."
What’s something you like to do off the ice?
"Fishing is one of the big things I do throughout the summer in the off-time."