Sometimes things really don’t seem to want to work out. Like, ever.
No, I’m not talking about the Bears drafting quarterbacks. I’m thinking about the career trajectory of Blackhawks defenseman Ian Mitchell, who we learned on Thursday morning will miss six weeks — so, all of training camp and 2-3 weeks of the regular season — with a left wrist injury.
I had (still have) high hopes for Mitchell this season. After leaving the University of Denver a couple years ago, he appeared in 39 NHL games in his first professional season. Yes, he was one of the guys that was rushed to the NHL by the previous administration.
Last season the new front office made the calculated decision to leave Mitchell in Rockford and skate him top minutes and in every situation. He performed well, and positioned himself well for a good look at making the roster coming out of training camp.
When we learned Jake McCabe was going to miss the first two months of the regular season, it appeared the door was wide open for Mitchell to grab a spot. He was going to compete with Alex Vlasic, Alec Regula and a couple other young guys for that spot, but his job in Rockford last year — coupled with one year remaining on his contract before hitting RFA — made this an important season for him.
Seeing him on the ice last week with the veterans before training camp opened was a good thing. He looked healthy and fast and in the mix with the other guys early.
But the wrist injury now elevates the opportunities for Vlasic and Regula. And, for what it’s worth, Vlasic spent most of his first practice under Luke Richardson skating with Seth Jones. And he looked good doing it.
Here’s hoping Mitchell can bounce back from the wrist injury and get back in the groove with enough runway to see some NHL ice time this season.