HF Prospect of the Month for December, 2013

By Ian Altenbaugh

Anthony Mantha - Detroit Red Wings

Photo: QMJHL forward Anthony Mantha took his game to the international stage in December, where he managed 10 points in four preliminary round games at the 2014 World Junior Championships. Mantha was selected 20th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

Forward Anthony Mantha (DET) is the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month for December. An offensively prolific player since the start of the 2013-14 season, Mantha took his game to another level in December, with 14 points in five QMJHL games and 10 points through the preliminary round of the 2014 World Junior Championship.

The strapping forward has been remarkably consistent all year and went into December riding a 17-game, 31-point hot streak. He added eight goals and six assists in five games in December, extending his hot streak to 22 games and 45 points, and now leads the QMJHL with 35 goals and 73 points on the season.

Mantha, who plays for the Val d'Or Foreurs, represented Canada at the 2014 WJC and was arguably the top overall player in the preliminary round, where he managed four goals and six assists in four games, including a hat trick to open the event on December 26th. He was also instrumental in Team Canada's 5-3 comeback win against Slovakia on December 30th, where he managed a goal and three assists.

He was selected by the coaches of the 2014 WJC as one of top players for Team Canada, along with Curtis Lazar (OTT) and Derrick Pouliot (PIT), and was the only Canadian selected to the tournament Media All Star Team.

Keith Kinkaid (NJ)
Albany Devils – AHL

Kinkaid was one of the AHL's hottest goaltenders in December, going 6-1, allowing an average of 1.55 goals per game, and posting a .947 save percentage. He allowed two or fewer goals in five of his seven starts in the month and posted two shutouts. The 24-year-old has been one of the most important players for the Albany Devils and a big reason why they are currently ranked sixth in the AHL's Eastern Conference.

He currently ranks second overall in the AHL with a 2.07 goals against average and his four shutouts are tied for the league lead. His record through 20 starts this season is 13-6-1.

Nicolas Petan (WPG)
Portland Winterhawks – WHL

Petan went into the 2014 WJC with a full head of steam, coming off a five game stretch in December where he posted 11 points in five games, including a four-goal, five-point outing against the Saskatoon Blades on December 1st.

That play carried over into the WJC, where he managed four goals and one assist for Team Canada through the preliminary round of the tournament. His biggest game of the entire event came on December 30th when he scored two goals, including the game-winner, against Slovakia.

The 18-year-old currently leads the WHL with 46 assists and ranks second overall in points with 66.

Nicolas Kerdiles (ANA)
Wisconsin Badgers – Big 10

Kerdiles began the month of December on a high note, earning Big Ten First Star of the Week honors for his part in a two-game back-to-back sweep over Penn State. While he contributed a goal and an assist in a 7-1 romp over the Nittany Lions on December 6th, it was his play the following night, where he scored the game-winning goal in a 4-3 win, which was most notable.

The 19-year-old forward maintained his strong level of play the following week, when he posted a goal and two assists in back-to-back wins over Colorado College.

The native of Irvine, California was a standout for Team USA at the 2014 WJC, where he led the team in points with two goals and five assists and was one of only two players to manage a point in every game, the other being Riley Barber (WAS).

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