Mitchell comes across as a lazy player to me. There have been a few times I've seen goals against or good scoring opportunities because he was floating around or coasting. I will say his overall team play has improved the last few games and he's been less of a puck hog. So there's that.
Someone probably has said this already, but hes the new and improved Tyler Arnason. Has underrated hands and is just about average at about everything else. He even has Tyler Arnason's lack of facial expression after plays to go with his Arnason-esque pasty white skin.
Wow that's a really harsh comparison (Arnason), probably the meannest thing I could say about a player...it is half true though, he's the whipping boy bottom 6 center with good hands and not much else.
I'm glad he doesn't use the Chara-like stick that Arnason used. Also while he's not overly physical he doesn't run away from all contact like Arnason.
Kind of surprised Sacco didn't have him as our #1 center.
I agree that he's better than your average 4th line guy, but I don't think he'd be that hard to replace. And I don't think they'd just "hope" to get a replacement, they'd find one, just like they found Mitchell when McClement bolted.
The reason Rangers fans are wishing Malkin back is that they not only lost him, they lost Prust as well (in addition to Anisimov and Dubinsky in the trade) because Nash's contract ate up all the cap room the Rangers had left. In one fell swoop Slats destroyed the Rangers' depth, so much so he had to flip Gaborik back to Columbus to try and get some of it back.
For the next year or two, Mitchell does everything we need. Not many other 4th liners can bring a scoring element, be a decent PKer, and a suitable filler when theres an injury to the top 9? Not many.
If this team ever goes into the more traditional role of 2 scoring lines, then Mitchell is a lot easier to replace. Next few years though? I can't think of many players more suitable for that job then Mitchell.
I think people expect too much of him considering he's a 4th line center. I'd gladly take him for another year or two.
I was all for it too, but frankly going from McClement (no drama) to Mitchell (adventure with the puck every shift) has made me realize there are better options. Frankly I'd rather have Cliche in the 4th line center spot than Mitchell at this point.
As I've said before, if the NHL expands Johnny Malkin will be in 7th Heaven. He'll be a top six guy on one of those teams and get to dangle/cough up the puck to his heart's content.