I’ve been on the Ian Mitchell Hype Train for a few years now, so the injury he suffered before training camp costing him the first month of the regular season hurt (bad pun, not intended). With him returning to the ice for Rockford to get his game back together, my hopes were that he’d show well and get a shot at helping the NHL roster soon.
Well, his performance on Wednesday morning (yup, a morning game) is going to help make that case.
The IceHogs had a 10 AM start today and they blew out Grand Rapids 5-1.
Mitchell had four (4) points, including two power play goals!
When I wrote about the Blackhawks’ offense going dry in November earlier this week, one of the biggest areas of decline has been the power play. Chicago’s PP ranks 31st in the NHL this month and is converting only 11.8 percent of the time. Seth Jones being out of the lineup has been a big factor in that, but having a solid second power play QB would be an improvement — and, right now, Caleb Jones hasn’t been able to provide that (on the top group in place of his brother).
With all of that being said, as I wrote earlier today, the Blackhawks have decisions coming on their blue line — and in Rockford — when Seth is healthy enough to return. Reports from the Blackhawks’ morning skate on Wednesday seem to appear Seth might not be back as soon as we might have hoped, too.
As I wrote there (and countless other times), I would love to see Mitchell’s ability to move the puck and create offense getting regular ice time in Chicago. With this being the final year of his entry level contract, I’m sure Mitchell would love that, too. And the new information about Seth’s wrist might make that more likely with the Blackhawks’ schedule being busy in the coming weeks.
Mitchell paid his dues in Rockford for almost a full season last year and impressed. If today’s performance is an indication that he’s ready to help the big club, I’m wholly in favor of a promotion to get some more offensive ability on the back end in Chicago.