“Five For…” is a Q&A feature with NHL Draft eligibles that touches on their lives and careers leading into the 2020 NHL Draft. This edition features forward Victor Mancini of Frölunda.
It’s not often you see an American-born prospect playing in Sweden prior to the draft.
But that’s what Victor Mancini did.
Heading into his draft year, Mancini made the decision to head overseas to Sweden to get ready for the NHL Draft and to improve his game.
“It was a big decision to make for me,” said Mancini. “But in the end, it’s all about where I want to be three, four, five years from now which is the NHL and playing in a pro league. The development they do over there, they focus on winning but they also focus on you as well, what you do on and off the ice. They want to make you a better player.”
Ranked No. 82 on NHL Central Scouting’s Final ranking for European skaters, Mancini put up nine goals, five assists and 14 points in 38 games with the Frölunda J20 team.
FC Hockey recently caught up with the right-shot defender:
FC: Your committed to the University of Nebraska Omaha for 2021-22, what was it that drew you to them?
VM: “There’s a lot of things, Omaha’s a great place. For starters, the NCHC is a great league, I think it’s one of the best in college hockey. So I know when I go there I’m going to be facing some tough competition which is going to get me better. I really like the coaches over there, and the program that they’ve built, I know that they are going to hold me to a high standard and I’m going to get better there.”
FC: Is there someone that has really helped get you to this point in your career, and that you can lean on when you need guidance or advice?
VM: “The big one is my father. He’s a great dad and he really knows what he’s doing in the hockey aspect of things. He coached me until I was 14 or 15. I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today without him and him helping me at a young age, coaching me, and giving me tips.”
FC: Speaking of him, I know that you sort of grew up in an OHL rink, with him being the former head coach of the Saginaw Spirit. What was that like?
VM: “I think that’s what really got me interested in hockey. I’ve chosen the college route, but I’m really thankful that I had that experience with the OHL as a young kid, with the Saginaw Spirit. I remember just walking around the rink and being in the locker room, the kind of sparked my love for hockey.”
FC: Who was your favourite player growing up?
VM: “When I was little, I was a forward and it was Ryan Kesler. I liked to watch him, I know he had a couple ties with my father. I enjoyed watching him play and how hard he played. He was skilled, but he wasn’t afraid to get in the corners and he could play gritty.”
FC: What prompted the move to defense?
VM: “It started when I was about 12, we had some injuries on D and my dad moved me back to defense. I think he always wanted to be a defender, so I think he did it on purpose to get me interested. I played back there for a couple of games, I ended up enjoying it. I think my forward skillset helped me kind of be the offensive defender. I’m guessing he did it on purpose, because the offensive defender kind of fills into my game and then I started working on my game more and became a two-way defender.”