As Sunday’s NHL trade deadline has come and gone, The Los Angeles Kings have shifted their attention to unrestricted free agent defenceman Willie Mitchell. Mitchell has spent the last four seasons of his eleven-year career with the Vancouver Canucks. As a stay at home defenceman, Mitchell doesn’t score much, but in his last full season he posted career highs in assists (20), points (23), and plus/minus (+29), and was also named the Canucks’ top defenceman in both 2008 and 2009. Mitchell missed much of the 2009-2010 season due to a season ending concussion after a collision with Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.
He had established himself as the Canucks’ top shutdown defenceman, and would make an excellent pair with offensive-minded Drew Doughty or Jack Johnson. Canucks’ defenceman Kevin Bieksa has credited Mitchell with making him more aware of game situations before jumping into the rush. Mitchell’s leadership qualities would be a viable asset to the Kings organization and important key to helping place the Kings as a top Stanley Cup contender this season.