Deep down forward Anthony Mantha reluctantly understands he's almost certainly destined to start next season playing junior hockey in Quebec.

But that doesn't mean Mantha won't have his sights set high when his first NHL training camp begins in September.

The Detroit Red Wings'' first-round choice in last month's draft will be heading to Traverse City with every intention of opening the 2013-14 campaign Oct. 2 at Joe Louis Arena against the Buffalo Sabres.

"I came here with a positive thinking trying to make the team because that's what every hockey player wants to do" Mantha the 20th overall pick in this year's NHL entry draft said at the club's annual Development Camp. "If it's not this year then the next year I'll come back with the same thinking of trying to make the team.

"And If not I'll go back to junior and have my best season yet. I'll try doing my best to come back to the next camp and try to make the AHL or the NHL the year after. It's really a process of growing up right now and it's a great moment."

So it's the NHL or bust this season?

"For sure it is" Mantha said. "If you go around the room and ask every player I'm not sure there's one that will tell you that's not their goal."