Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Focus on Prospects: Garrett Mitchell

 photo by Don Healy/Regina Leader Post
Name: Garrett Mitchell
Position: RW
Shoots: Right
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 185 lbs
Birthdate: 1991-09-02
Hometown: Regina, Sask.

In the Capitals rookie game at the culmination of rookie camp, a couple of prospects made their names known. Players like Cody Eakin, Dustin Stevenson, and Philipp Grubauer performed extraordinarily well and were praised by coaching staff. One of the more behind-the-scenes players that made an impression was Garrett Mitchell, a 19-year-old kid from the WHL Regina Pats. On the second line with Nikita Kashirsky and Cody Eakin, Mitchell made the breakaway pass to Eakin that led to his game-winning goal.

Coaches were impressed with Mitchell, a physical forward with strong positional sense and a good work ethic. His leadership on and off the ice earned him the Captain's "C" for his final year with the Regina Pats this season. Of the honor, Mitchell said, "My whole hockey career I've tried to be a leader, whether you have a letter on or not."

Hockey's Future places the 2009 sixth-round pick on an energy line, likely third or fourth line depending on linemates. He has a defensive mindset and is best for those grinding, forechecking lines, as well as the penalty kill. He's not much of a puckhandler, but he's very fast and does what's needed to wrestle for the puck and win battles along the boards. He's willing to drop the gloves in defense of his teammates, and it shows in his penalty minutes -- he had 110 PIMs in 57 games with the Pats last season (8 recorded fights). He backed up his physical tendencies with a total 31 points for the season.

For his confrontational, gritty style, Mitchell has drawn comparisons to Matt Bradley. When he was told of the comparison, Mitchell said, "Definitely that’s the kind of role I like to play.  I’m not the biggest guy but I kind of like to be an in-your-face player and I don’t shy away from dropping the mitts or whatever. I do think that’s a good comparison."

If you need an example of the sacrifices Mitchell is willing to make to help his team, take a look at this fight from just last week against Sena Acolatse of the Prince George Cougars. Acolatse, a known heavyweight in the WHL, was absolutely hammering away at Mitchell, but Mitchell didn't back down and didn't give up, and even ended up drawing blood from Acolatse. The Pats lost that game 5-3, but after Mitchell's scrap late in the second period, the Pats went on to score three goals in the third period.

Once Mitchell ages out of the CHL this coming spring, depending on the outcome of his next Capitals training camp, Mitchell is likely to be sent to either South Carolina or Hershey to further develop his skill set. He has played one game with Hershey in April, a 3-1 loss to Syracuse, but Coach Mark French indicated that he would like to see more of Mitchell in the future.

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