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#24 - Ryan Mantha

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Hulking right-hander sneaks in ahead of one other guy.

Sudbury Wolves v Niagara IceDogs
Former Niagara IceDogs captain Ryan Mantha.
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Larger than average human Ryan Mantha, a defense-first defenseman who spent last year playing as an overager with the OHL's Niagara IceDogs, checks in at #24 in this year's Top 25 Under 25. See how we voted below:

Shona: 22

Corey: 22

Derek: 26

Patrick: 26

Matt: 24

Scott: 26

Jeff: 24

About:

A former fourth round pick of the New York Rangers (2014), Mantha spent a few draft+ seasons in the OHL before the Oilers signed him this spring, and the tiny giant figures to be a staple on the Condors' blueline next season.

Standing at 6'5'', 225 human pounds, the newcomer finds himself included in the Top 25 this year after an impressive season as the IceDogs' captain and second-leading scorer (17-41-58 in 65GP) in 2016-17. His counting stats were good enough for 50th among all OHL players and 6th among OHL defenders last year. Of course, given his obvious, incurable gigantism and relative old-man strength (next to the teenagers he played against in the OHL), we should still exercise caution when projecting his offense at the next level.

A defense-first player with a big shot and some foot speed issues - I know, I know, we've heard this one before - Mantha will have to work on his skating to break into the show one day. However, the path of least resistance to the big club is certainly on the right side.

What The Scouts Said:

March 2017- Ryan Mantha is a big defensive defenseman. Originally drafted by the New York Rangers in the 4th round of the 2014 draft, Mantha selected to sign an entry-level contract with Edmonton. Mantha is the captain of the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL. The big defenceman is having himself a pretty solid offensive year picking up 17 goals and 40 assists for 57 points in only 64 games. Mantha is defense-first but he has a crisp breakout pass and will jump up in the play if the opportunity is presented. He also possesses a big shot from the point. A knock on Mantha is his foot speed. He will need to improve this if he wants to play in the NHL one day. Next season Mantha will have a chance to play with the Bakersfield Condors.

-Spencer Pomoty, dobberprospects.com

What The Brass Said:

"Ryan is a big right-shot d man that's a little bit of a late bloomer..."We scouted him, he's really had a strong year and he's a good prospect. We're happy he signed with us. He liked what we did with our young guys this year."

-Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli

Outlook

Look for Mantha to occupy a top-four spot in Bakersfield for the entirety of next season. If he shows well, he’ll almost certainly get a look with the big club given the lack of real depth on the starboard side. As with any prospect whose biggest issue is foot speed, there are some concerns here – but there always will be with players at this level of depth in the organization.