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Mantha Wants To See Fellow Quebec Native Lapierre Win Job With Capitals



Capitals Anthony Mantha and Hendrix Lapierre

Last training camp, Anthony Mantha and Hendrix Lapierre hit it off as they took the ice together for the first time with the Washington Capitals. The Quebec natives communicated in French, and both bounced off each other on the ice.

Now, as both enter their second training camp with Washington, Mantha wants to see the 20-year-old do exactly what he did last season: crack the Capitals roster. But this time, Mantha wants Lapierre to earn a permanent stay.

Last week, Mantha hit the links for the Serge Savard Golf Tournament, where he caught up with RDS to discuss the upcoming season, expectations and his young teammate in Lapierre, who he wants to be a mentor for going forward.

“He’s a very fast guy,” Mantha said of No. 29. “If [Nicklas] Backstrom can’t start the year, it opens a spot at center. It’s up to Hendrix to take a chance and prove that he can fill [in for] the team.”

After an impressive camp and performance in the preseason, Lapierre earned an extended stay in the District. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 13, 2021, and scored his first NHL goal against the New York Rangers that night. After that, he played five more games before being sent back to the QMJHL to continue his development with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

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Down in the Q, Lapierre had the best season of his career with 51 points in 41 outings. He returned to D.C. in mid-July for development camp and was among the standouts, and has also played 3-on-3 hockey with Mantha, Zach Fucale, Daniel Sprong and more familiar faces back home in Montreal while training at Hockey Etcetera.

“I think if I have a camp like last year, I’ll put the odds on my side. If I have to play in Hershey or whatever. I’ll just be ready for whatever I need to do, and I’ll arrive at camp. And whatever happens, happens,” Lapierre said during development camp. “But I just don’t want to have any regrets when I finish camp. But it’s a long time. So right now, I’m just focusing on having fun.”

Mantha, meanwhile, is looking to rebound and impress after a rough go-of-it in 2021-22. After getting off to a strong start with six points in 10 games, 27-year-old missed roughly four months due to a major shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. He ended up dishing nine goals and 14 points in 37 games and also had four points in six playoff games.

This season, Mantha wants to play not only a full season and stay healthy, but find more consistency and be an X factor on the top-6, especially with Backstrom and Tom Wilson out to open the campaign.

“I’m going to have to step up for sure,” Mantha noted, adding, “I will have a more important role, and I will give my best for the team.”