The Chicago Blackhawks announced a number of roster moves this afternoon, and one of them including a very surprising demotion to the minors.
In a press release, the ‘Hawks announced that defenseman Ian Mitchell has been sent down to the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs. Mitchell is one of a number of players that were re-assigned to the Hogs, but out of all of the moves made by General Manager Stan Bowman, this one is definitely the most puzzling.
This is some big news, as Mitchell has been one of the better young defensemen for the team this season. While he is in his rookie year of NHL play, this is a strange time to send him away. The ‘Hawks are in the middle of a long homestand, looking to pick up some desperately needed points, and Mitchell is one of the blueliners that have made a good impact this year for Jeremy Colliton’s squad.
Mitchell has suited up for 32 games this season, and although he has only put up four points, he has been a big part of the defensive core this year. The University of Denver alumni has been averaging just over 15 minutes per game and is helping to keep the puck out of the net with 30 blocked shots. Additionally, he Corsi-for at even strength is a respectable 340. With all of this being said, sending Mitchell down at this point of the season seems to be a strange move.
Now, it is true that Mitchell hasn’t been playing his best hockey lately, and his shifts-per-game have been falling consistently the past few matchups. So it is definitely possible that he is just going to Rockford to get a bit more conditioning, and then will be back on the ‘Hawks to help them as they head towards the back end of their season.
In addition to Mitchell, the Blackhawks also sent down defenseman Lucas Carlsson and Wyatt Kalynuk, and forward Reese Johnson and MacKenzie Entwistle to the Rockford Icehogs. The Blackhawks are back on the ice tonight against the Nashville Predators at 7 p.m. CST, in the first of a two-game series.