While the NHL season continues to be on pause, the Chicago Blackhawks are making moves with prospect contracts. Coming off the heels of signing Michal Teply on Friday, the Blackhawks have come to an agreement of terms with highly touted defensive prospect Ian Mitchell. While nothing has been officially announced from the team yet, multiple outlets have confirmed the agreement. A long-awaited signing, Mitchell’s entry-level contract will reportedly start whenever the NHL season resumes to finish the 2019–20 season, or will begin with the 2020–21 season.
After nixing an NHL deal with Chicago that would have put Mitchell into the fold with the Blackhawks this season, the 2017 second-round pick returned to Denver University for his junior season, where he served as the Pioneers’ captain. After a spell of “will he or won’t he” from the Blackhawks’ fan community, everyone can breathe a little easier knowing that the coveted defenseman will be playing his professional hockey with the Blackhawks.
An already accomplished NCAA prospect, Mitchell played with Team Canada this past December at the Spengler Cup in Switzerland. He tallied a goal and an assist in four games played, helping Canada win their 16th Spengler Cup.
In three seasons playing at Denver, Mitchell skated in 116 games and tallied 89 points. He was part of the 2018 NCAA Championship team as a freshman and was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team in the 2017–18 season. Mitchell was named a NCHC Second Team All-Star as a sophomore in 2018–19 and a NCHC First Team All-Star this season as a junior. Mitchell was also named the Pioneers’ Team MVP this season with 32 points in 36 games played prior to the NCAA season being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At 5-foot-11 and tipping the scales around 180 pounds, Mitchell is not the most physically imposing defenseman, but he played heavy minutes over the last two seasons at Denver and all indications are that he will be able to play at the speed and physical level seen in the NHL. It is important to note that Mitchell will need time to adjust and more than likely is not the singular missing piece to the Blackhawks’ woes defensively. But, signs do point to Mitchell getting a crack at the NHL right away once he joins the organization, which is hopefully sooner rather than later.