He’s fresh off his second Stanley Cup in 3 seasons and was a big part of the first one, helping the Kings mesmerize their opponents on the power play. At 37, he still looks like he can offer a lot to any team that wants him. He did so much in Vancouver when he first arrived until his ill fated concussion ushered his exit. Will the Canucks make a play for BC boy Willie Mitchell once free agency opens July 1?
Looking for a new team at 37 isn’t exactly an appealing process. Willie has 2 Cups in the last 3 years and they came while wearing a Los Angeles Kings jersey. That can’t be easy to leave beaches, sunshine, open sea fishing and well, winning. Vancouver is in a state of change and need a splash this offseason. Coming back to the Canucks may not be high on Mitchell’s wish list either. The end of his tenure was pretty ugly.
With Trevor Linden and Jim Benning at the helm now, maybe there is a chance “Bill Pickle” will migrate home. I personally would love to see him back in a Canucks uniform. He was a great defensive specialist, had a stick that swept away numerous chances and is a complete fan favorite. He won’t be relied upon for goal scoring but his recent awakening on the offensive side of the puck sure helps his cause.
If the Canucks can land the Port McNeill native on the relatively cheap, he is still a big add on the blue line. His addition would allow the Canucks to potentially move Chris Tanev for value. This isn’t something I’m saying will happen but you take value where you can get it. Tanev is entering his prime and could, i’ll say it again, could fetch a great ready now forward or be packaged together with a pick and prospect like Hunter Shinkaruk or Bo Horvat for a guy like Ryan O’Reilly.
Big Willie has improved some things during his time in LA. His shot totals went up, he was used on the power play somewhat regularly and proved he can bounce back from a concussion problem that plagued him the better part of a year. Willie is a gamer, a born leader and as long as he is healthy, he’s an integral part of any defense he is a part of.
Hopefully, the Canucks will make a smart move and get Mitchell at value and build up their porous defensive core. Winning 2 Stanley Cups is a nice teaching tool as well.
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Photo courtesy: robthehockeyguy.com