Welcome back to the third instalment of “Meet The Prospects.” This article will go into detail on defenseman Ian Mitchell, who is arguably the Blackhawks top prospect going into the season other than Lukas Reichel. The 23 year old from St. Albert, Alberta stands 5’11, weighs 174 pounds and was drafted 57th overall by the Hawks in 2017. During his 2016-17 campaign, which was his second season with the club, Mitchell had 37 points in 53 games with the Spruce Grove Saints of the AJHL.
Mitchell went on to play for three seasons with the University of Denver in the NCAA, being named assistant captain in his second year and captain in his third. In 116 games with the club, Mitchell had 89 points. In the 2020-21 season, Mitchell got his shot in the NHL playing 39 games for the Blackhawks and putting up 7 points. This past season, Mitchell spent a majority of his time with the Rockford Icehogs in the AHL, but still had a point in 8 games with the Blackhawks.
I fully expect Mitchell to crack the opening day Blackhawks roster. His offensive ability, speed, and shot are all factors that stand out when he plays. He has a good 200 foot game that will likely improve as he goes, and can create plays for everyone around him by scanning the ice really well, thus speaking to his really strong hockey IQ.
Mitchell has drawn stylistic comparisons to Minnesota Wild defender Jared Spurgeon, while being praised for his ability to look comfortable no matter where he ends up. The jump from the AJHL to NCAA was big, and the jump to the NHL full time is even bigger, but his development in the minors should have been enough to have him comfortable in the bottom 4 of the rotation this season.