Mitchell at Caps Development Camp over the summer (Photo credit: BridgetDS).
The Capitals have some great middleweight, gritty forwards. Guys like Matt Hendricks and Matt Bradley. Steve Pinizzotto is also down on the farm in Hershey. Now you can add one more name to that list: Garrett Mitchell.
The Capitals announced today that they signed the free agent right wing to a three-year entry-level contract beginning next season. The 19-year old Mitchell became the latest player from the 2009 Draft to be signed by the Caps. Previously, Marcus Johansson (1st round, 24th overall), Dmitri Orlov (2nd round, 55th overall), Cody Eakin (3rd round, 85th overall) and Brett Flemming (5th round, 145th overall) all elected to sign their entry-level deals. That leaves only Boston College defenseman Patrick Wey (4th round, 115th overall) — a member of Team USA in the 2011 WJC — and Benjamin Casavant (7th round, 205th overall) without contracts. Suffice to say, a very bountiful and productive draft class for General Manager George McPhee.
Mitchell, picked 175th overall in 2009 Entry Draft, would seem to project as a future third or fourth line player in the NHL if he develops fully. According to the HF page about Mitchell, his upside (besides the physical aspects) are leadership, penalty killing and skating.
When Hockey’s Future analyzed the Capitals ’09 draft class, this is what they had to say about Mitchell:
What Mitchell lacks in talent and finishing ability, he makes up with an incredible work ethic and hard-nosed play. Even at his size, Mitchell is able to play a very effective checking role for the Regina Pats of the WHL. The Regina native’s tough play is evidenced by his 140 penalty minutes in 71 games in 2008-09. Playing hard every shift does not necessarily translate to offensive results though, as evidenced by 10 goals and 15 total points all of last season. The main knock on Mitchell is that he has no finishing ability. If he can improve the offensive aspects of his game just a little, Mitchell could turn out to be an excellent role/energy player in the NHL one day.
A comparable NHL player Mitchell would be the St. Louis Blues’ B.J. Crombeen. In Crombeen’s second year with the OHL’s Barrie Colts after being drafted by St Louis, he posted 49 points and 113 PIM. Mitchell this year currently has 51 points and 140 PIM’s.
The 19 year-old Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada native played in one AHL game with the Bears last season, but didn’t post anything memorable. While captain of his WHL team, the Regina Pats, he has participated in some brawls at the junior level. The Pats did not make the playoffs this year so when the WHL’s regular season ends — and the Pats only have one game — Mitchell will most likely report to the Hershey Bears and play under an amateur tryout contract (ATO).
Finally, feel free to follow Mitch on Twitter and congratulate him! What a big day it must be for him.