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08-12-2012, 02:21 PM
MLD Glue Guy
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: BC, Canada
Country: Canada
Posts: 16,382
vCash: 500
D Willie Mitchell

6'3, 208
Shoots Left
Port McNeill, BC, Canada

2004 World Championship Gold Medal
2012 Stanley Cup Champion

29 G, 124 A, 153 Pts in 719 GP

The Hockey Writers:
Willie Mitchell is one of the best defensive defensemen in hockey. All it took was 719 NHL regular season games, 71 NHL postseason games, and stops in New Jersey, Minnesota, Dallas, Vancouver, and Los Angeles for most people to find out. Wherever he has gone in his hockey career, he has brought with him an insatiable will to win, a quiet confidence in his abilities, a tenacity to defend his own goal, and a really long hockey stick.

To his teammates, he is a defensive rock and a calming presence on the ice. To the goaltenders that play behind him, he is a safety net. To his coaches, he is a player they can lean on in difficult situations. To the media, he is a breath of fresh air in a sport full of scripted answers and clichés. To opponents, he is a physical and formidable foe.

He is finally receiving the credit he has so long deserved for being one of the elite shutdown defensemen in a sport that glorifies beautiful goals, hard hits, and dazzling saves. His stick positioning is as good as Steven Stamkos’s wrist shot, Pekka Rinne’s glove, or Sidney Crosby’s backhand, but you won’t find clips of his defensive abilities on the highlight reels.

Mitchell brought with him a focus on the defensive craft not seen in Vancouver in a long time. He quickly emerged as the top shutdown defenseman on the team. He logged heavy minutes on the penalty kill, and was matched up against the top opposing forwards each night. It wasn’t a coincidence that the team emerged as one of the best in the league during Mitchell’s four seasons.

Mitchell played almost five minutes per game on the penalty kill in 2006-07. Across the league, only Derian Hatcher (5:37 per game) and Adam Foote (4:58 per game) played more.

In the next three seasons, Mitchell’s role on the Canucks was very consistent. He logged an average of 4:15 per game on the PK, and 0:17 on the PP. He played the toughest minutes among any Canuck defensemen for those three seasons.
Hockey Forecaster:
Is a huge presence and displays terrific defensive instincts and leadership. Possesses a decent shot from the point. Loves the challenge of shutting opponents down.
Hockey Analysis:
Over the past 4 seasons there have been 68 defensemen to play 4000+ minutes of zone start adjusted 5v5 ice time. Of those defensemen Lidstrom ranks 9th in HARO+, 13th in HARD+ and 4th in HART+. The only defensemen more valuable overall over the past 4 seasons are Chara (excellent offensive and defensive play), Willie Mitchell (excellent defensive play which we are clearly seeing these playoffs) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (excellent defensive ability, good offensive play).
Behind the Net:
Measuring Quality of Competition is less straight-forward: we take the ice time-weighted average of a player's opponents' Corsi number relative to his teammates. The leaders over the last four seasons are a who's who of top defensive players: Nicklas Lidstrom, Willie Mitchell, Sammy Pahlsson, Brent Seabrook, Jay Bouwmeester, Chris Phillips

Last edited by Hedberg: 08-12-2012 at 05:20 PM.
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