The kid is such a beast! Despite Kenny's usual protocol regarding prospects, I'm optimistic that we'll see Mantha in a Wings jersey soon. Personally, I'm hoping for next season. But I'll be shocked if Kenny let's him bypass the AHL. My guess is he'll play next season in GR. And if he continues to have success hopefully he'll get to play with the big club the following season.
Holland has said will let him bypass the AHL if he can prove he can play as a top-6 forward, so it's all on Mantha at this point. A couple of recent quotes from Holland:
“He’s going to get a chance to make our team (in 2014-15). He’ll play five or six or seven exhibition games, and if he belongs in the NHL, we’ll put him in.” — Holland (May 2014, Detroit Free Press)
“We’re going to give him every opportunity to make our team in training camp. He’s big, he can score, he’s got tremendous hands and hockey sense. The question is, can he score at next level? We’re going to give him an opportunity to play with our top six in training camp … If he can help us, we want him on our team. I don’t want him on the team as a 13th, 14th forward or on the fourth line playing eight minutes a night, penalty kill. If he can play in our top six with Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen and Nyquist, and contribute, he can play on our team. If not, we can put him in Grand Rapids, do the thing we’ve done through the years — let him learn to be a pro down there.” — Holland (Sportsnet, May 2014)