Chicago Blackhawks: Ian Mitchell’s potential to turn pro

(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks are a little bit thin on defense so adding a top prospect at the position over the next few years is important.

The Chicago Blackhawks are thin on defense. They need some help on the blue line because it isn’t a group that can get them into the playoffs anymore. They tried time and time again to win with a run and gun style but they haven’t had much-sustained success with that philosophy. They need to start bringing in some younger people to play the position so they can try and move forward.

One player they have in the fold is Ian Mitchell. They drafted Mitchell in the second round at 57th overall of the 2017 NHL Draft. Since being drafted, he has played three years at the University of Denver where he was awesome. He got better every single year and now it looks like he is going to be able to make the jump to the pros if he wants. He hasn’t committed to going back to Denver for his senior year but he also hasn’t signed a deal with the Hawks yet.

If Mitchell doesn’t sign with Chicago this year, he will then have the opportunity to go to free agency next summer. For that reason, it might be wise to try and get him signed. If he signs he will have a good chance to make the NHL team in 2020-21. He would also be eligible to play for the Rockford Ice Hogs too. Either way, it is good to have a player like this in the fold.

In this past season with Denver, he had 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 36 games. He has also had success with them from a team point of view with a deep run in the NCAA tournament. This is just the kind of experience from a young player that the Blackhawks need to bring in to the mix, especially on defense. Mitchell is a great young defenseman and the Blackhawks are thin on those. They have a few other pieces in place so if Mitchell pans out, their next core could be a really good one.

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One key to Mitchell’s success when he turns pro will be him playing in a spot where he can succeed. It might not be fair to put him out there against the opposition’s best players right away. Keeping him on the middle pair or even bottom pair at first might be wise. He can get his power-play time as well if the coaches feel he deserves it. At even strength, he probably needs a partner who is sound in all three zones in case he makes a mistake. There is no doubt that this is a good player and the Blackhawks need to have him in the fold sooner rather than later.