Willie Mitchell is 38 years old and might not be the ideal candidate to be traded to the Canucks. He has a modified NTC so he basically would still have to agree to be moved. Florida is a pretty nice place
this time of year all the time and he wears the “C”. There is really no reason whatsoever for him to want to come back and play for the team he grew up cheering for and for a time dominated the blue line on. So why bother make a play for an old defender who probably, maybe even definitively could retire after this year? Experience, 2 Cups and one more challenge.
Willie Mitchell, I want you back in Vancouver.
When Willie was hit by Evgeni Malkin in 2010, the Canucks were ultimately robbed of the true potential of Mitchell. He didn’t skate until August of that year and was eventually signed by the LA Kings and went on to win not one but two Stanley Cups with them. He became a PP demon and showcased a shot most of Vancouver never knew he possessed. There was a good chance he would have returned had he been healthy.
Late in his career, Mitchell has seemed to settle down and enjoy the sunshine that is Florida. He’s the Captain, Luongo is there too and honestly he should stay there.
But this is sports and sports players don’t always stay in one place. He’s been to the top of the mountain and will play out what might be his final contract but who knows; a player of Mitchell’s ilk has so much to offer to players like Ben Hutton, Chris Tanev, Luca Sbisa and yes even a jilted Alex Edler. That…and we are getting pillaged by injuries and brain farts on the back end.
Bill Pickle’s cap hit is 4.25M this season but if something is going the other way, say Vrbata, Ballard and a 3rd (just kidding!)…Seriously, the Canucks have a player like Vrbata at a juicy cap hit and Florida can’t expect a huge return for a guy on his way out.
Getting into the important stuff, this season WM has a PDO value of 103.2 (war-on-ice.com) which is pretty respectable. Not over achieving but still bringing value to the team. He’s known for his defensive defensiveness but is he still useful? Defensive defensemen usually mean they aren’t good but considering his shutdownness, I’m willing to see past that term.
His Corsi % is beyond disgusting but the Nucks wouldn’t be getting him for that. You don’t date a super model because she’s smart.
If the Canucks are going to stick with Miller and Markstrom until Thatcher Demko is ready, they are going to need some competent defensemen for the next couple of years and even ONE season of Willie Mitchell hockey would be enough to help groom guys like Ben Hutton and Chris Tanev to become top pairing guys; not just because they’re on the Canucks but because that’s where they should be.
Willie has proven he can hang with the best in the world and he was an absolute pillar when he patrolled the Canucks blue line. Those were better times. He already has 44 blocked shots this season, 39 hits and he’s averaging just under 20 min/ game of ice time. He’s a RD and those are pretty valuable. Considering the Canucks seem to have many a faceoff in their own zone, Willie’s ZSO%Rel is -21.8%, meaning that he isn’t having to start in his own zone a whole lot. Not really a surprise but with a stick like he has, he isn’t a liability.
To add to this his GF% is 46.9 so if he’s on the ice, its not overly common a goal will be scored against him.
THE STATS DON’T LIE BENNING!!!!
Would you honestly NOT want to see him back? It kills me he left and if there was one last legitimate hurrah, I think the fans would be accommodating. The Canucks blue line is becoming a bit more porous than they had hoped I think and bringing back Mitchell into a teaching role would be beneficial IMO.
The key for a rebuilding team would be to get younger and not WAY more experienced but having a few older guys for LA seemed to have worked out. And quite frankly, Roberto Luongo would be just fine without him.
Just make the move JB, things aren’t getting any better and he won’t make it worse.
Follow me on twitter: @always90four