I wouldn't read too much into Kenny's comment. I do believe he's going to get a pretty fair shot, but, either way, Kenny's not going to say, "Will he have a shot in the fall? Probably not." (See: Alfredsson, Daniel.)
But if we want to read into stuff, I think that little Q & A Babs did on the night he watched Mantha play seemed to suggest he's a bit skeptical, because that's just how he is when it comes to this kind of thing.
"The NHL is a whole different thing. He'll need to work on his pace. He'll need to learn to always keep his feet moving. You've gotta be real heavy on the puck at the pro level. You've gotta win your board battles, shift after shift after shift, night after night after night - and not against kids, but full-grown men, elite athletes, the best of the best. You've gotta be an everydayer. And while you're learning all this, you're also trying to figure out how to really take care of yourself for the first time in your life. It's a whole new way of life, and it's real easy to get lost in it. Now, having said all that, we've never had a kid like this, someone who's 6'5 and can really put the puck in the net. Maybe that helps speed up his development, maybe it doesn't. We'll just have to wait and see."
(That's not an actual quote, but it's pretty close to what he said. I was too lazy to track down the original audio, so I just put on my Generic Babcock Hat there.)
Pesonally, I think I'd rather have him start the season in GR and see how he does, unless he has a really, really, really good training camp. What's the risk? ...Versus, if you throw him right into the fire, that could backfire - for him and the team. We need to get as many points as possible, and, if we're being honest and objective, he does need to improve his all-around game. So...expect him to start in GR. (I wouldn't necessarily mind being wrong on this one, of course.)
As for maybe putting the feelers out re: his possible trade value...I don't know why you wouldn't at least dip your toes into those waters. It doesn't mean you think any less of Mantha. It doesn't mean "OMG HOLLAND IS SHOPPING MANTHA! FULL STORY @ 10!" It's just, if there's a fantastic opportunity out there, you'd like to know. Right?
Edited by Dabura, 25 May 2014 - 06:44 PM.