Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Watch: Ian Mitchell Bolsters Defense
By Jimmy Lynch
Ian Mitchell is going to get an opportunity with the Chicago Blackhawks this season. While Chicago has a handful of defensemen that could make a difference on their roster, Mitchell is towards the top of the list.
Similar to Pius Suter, Ian Mitchell should be in the NHL this season. Ian Mitchell could have been an NHLer last season. Stan Bowman has said that the team wanted to sign him last offseason, but Mitchell wanted to go back for one more year at the University of Denver.
Luckily for Chicago, Mitchell is now ready to start his NHL career with the Chicago Blackhawks. Similar to Adam Boqvist, Mitchell has some offensive skills. He should help turn around a Blackhawks blue line that has been one of the worst in the league.
With the addition of Nikita Zadorov, Mitchell won’t be the lone new face on the ‘Hawks blue line. Zadorov and Mitchell could prove to be a great pairing thanks to Zadorov’s size with Mitchell’s skill and speed.
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Chicago is doing their best to make their blue line younger, but that does not make it an automatic fix for their struggles. It seems like Chicago’s blue line has just been stuck, not only at the bottom of the league but also with the same personnel.
Chicago is bringing back a lot of the same players to their blue line next season. Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Calvin de Haan, and Connor Murphy are all the highest paid defensemen on this team, and they are not going anywhere unless through a trade or during the expansion draft.
So, a player like Ian Mitchell will need to step in and help Chicago’s defense. Maybe he can be as successful as Cale Maker or Quinn Hughes, not this coming season, but in the long run. What do you think a good season will look like for Mitchell? Does he spend a good portion of the year in the AHL, or will he make the jump to the NHL right away?