Ian Mitchell has been selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2nd round (57th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-11, 173-pounder played last season with the Spruce Grove Saints in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and has been committed to the Pioneers for quite some time now. He will be enrolling at DU in the fall and should play a key role in trying to fill the void that Will Butcher left.
Full BSNDenver NHL Draft profile:
Get to Know Ian Mitchell
Date of Birth: Jan. 18, 1999
Place of Birth: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 173 lbs
Team (League): Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
Signed to play at the University of Denver for the 2017-18 season
What Scouts See
From the hockeywriters.com:
“After a first season in the AJHL where he established himself as a very solid defender (as a 17-year-old), Mitchell upped his game and was a very good defender this season as an 18-year-old – arguably only Makar was more impressive in terms of teens in junior A this season. Mitchell’s a strong puck distributor and skates well, which has really helped him create offense for the Saints. His mobility alone is a great attribute, as it allows him to scramble back into position when he pinches and occasionally gets caught too deep in the offensive zone. He was one of the top defenders in the AJHL this past season, a sign that he’s grown his game and become more effective at finding seams for passes and lanes for his shots from the point.”
“Mitchell is very good at starting the transition game. He can skate the puck out of dangerous areas and avoid the forecheck, before making a crisp pass to a teammate. He is especially effective at going for the long home-run pass to a streaking forward behind the defense. Mitchell is also effective at leading the rush himself. He can quarterback the play from the blue line, with the poise to control the puck, and the vision to make strong passes. He can also walk the line to open up shooting and passing lanes.”
What BSN Avalanche sees
Mitchell is going to make Pioneer fans very happy for the next few years especially as a replacement for Will Butcher. Obviously he’s not at the level that Butcher is at, but he’s an excellent two-way player and will fill the void that Butcher left on both the power play and the penalty kill. Mitchell’s greatest asset is his skating, he has exceptional mobility whether it’s with the puck in the transition game or in the defensive zone closing down on players. He can do just about everything that an organization would want their defenseman to do. The 5-foot-11, 173-pounder will need to get a bit stronger but that’s something the Pioneers should be able to take care of before he gets to the NHL.
Mitchell definitely has the skating ability to play in the NHL. He might be more of a long-term project but he’s going to make it an NHL lineup one day.