|Mitchell in action for Regina last winter.|
On Saturday, March 19, the Washington Capitals signed right winger Garrett Mitchell to an amateur tryout contract. Mitchell, 19, was the Capitals' sixth round pick, 175th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. A Regina, Saskatchewan native, Mitchell has played the last four seasons of his junior career with his hometown Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. Following the rapidly approaching end of the WHL season, Mitchell will report directly to the Capitals' AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, according to Mike Vogel. From there, he will begin his professional career and will likely carve out a part-time role with the Bears for the remainder of the season. With him in the news, I have decided to give Caps fans a little look at what Mitchell will bring to the organization now that he has officially signed on. So, let's have ourselves a little look-see.
Profile: Mitchell profiles as an energy player who has the potential to be a solid third or fourth line checking winger, much like a Matt Bradley. His strong suits are his excellent skating ability and speed, which he couples with determination and a willingness to go to the net and into the corners to generate most if not all of his offensive potential. Although he does not have particularly good stick skills, he can put the puck in the net and create plays and he is a player who likes to take little chances with the puck and not put his team at risk. In addition to his physicality and great work ethic, Mitchell can contribute as a solid penalty-killing forward who will come to the aid of a teammate. He is also noted for his leadership ability; he was named Regina's captain for this season.
Career Notes: Mitchell, as stated before, has played his entire junior career with the Pats after being drafted in the 2nd round, 33rd overall, in the 2006 WHL Draft. A very physical player, Mitchell has never had a WHL season with fewer than 70 penalty minutes, and has topped 110 each of the last three seasons. This year has been his best offensive year, as he has notched 18 goals and 51 points this year in 69 games, compared to 15 goals and 31 points in 57 games last season and only 10 and 15 in 71 games the year before. One thing to note that is very significant is that he missed a large chunk of the 2009-2010 season with a concussion; this is of obvious concern as he continues his development. He was invited to Capitals Development Camp last year as well.
ETA: 2012-13. Despite his leadership characteristics and great two-way ability, the glut of young and talented forwards the Capitals have make it likely that Mitchell may have to wait some time for his shot. He's only 19, so the fact that he should be able to carve out a full time role with the Bears next season is certainly encouraging and bodes well for his arrival in DC. He may get a recall sometime next year or the year after due to injury for a cup of coffee and a look at the NHL level from management, but he still has alot to learn to be able to contribute for the Capitals full-time.
The Capitals are off today (Sunday) and will return to the ice Monday at 10:30 A.M. for practice as they prepare for Tuesday night's game in Philadelphia.
Thanks to Hockeys Future and the WHL for data used in this post.