39-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
Willie Mitchell Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the Panthers in July of 2014.
Mitchell, who was reportedly suffering from concussion-related issues, has been skating while contemplating his future with the Panthers in advance of the NHL playoffs, the Miami Herald reports.
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Willie Mitchell: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Willie Mitchell.
After an offensive renaissance in 2011-12, Mitchell suffered a collection of knee injuries that held him out of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season and threatened his career. However, Mitchell is back and still chugging along at 38 years old. The Panthers captain scored three goals and added five assists while playing in 66 games a season ago, with most of his value coming behind the scenes as a good locker room presence. In addition to his leadership skills, Mitchell excels at killing penalties, and ate up more than 21 minutes of ice time per game in 2014-15. His impact isn't likely to be found in the box score, but Mitchell remains a key cog on a youthful squad and should be in line for a regular role again this season.
Mitchell signed with Florida coming off his second Stanley Cup win with the Kings. He is a veteran defensive presence for the young Panthers and his biggest fantasy contribution may be helping out goaltender Roberto Luongo. Mitchell had just 12 points in 76 games in 2013-14, but he did add 102 hits and 138 blocked shots showing he can be useful in more defensive-oriented leagues. He won't see much time on the power play, and at age 37, his offensive game isn't about to breakout, so use him only where his skills are appreciated.
Mitchell missed the entire 2012-13 season with a knee injury, but the Kings are counting on him to return to his familiar shutdown role this year given the departure of Rod Scuderi via free agency. He's a far more important player to the Kings than what he provides to fantasy squads, so the Kings certainly hope to have him back to full strength when training camp opens.
Mitchell had a career high 24 points last year as a 35-year old, but that's not what the Kings inked him to a two-year extension to provide. He eats up a ton of minutes and is an integral part of their penalty kill. He'll be back as an important part of their defensive corps again assuming he can avoid the nagging injuries.
Mitchell was limited to just 57 games in his first season with the Kings thanks to a wrist and lower-body injury, but figures to be a nightly fixture on the blue line when healthy this season. He's a reliable, steady presence but doesn't do much from a fantasy perspective, failing to post more than 12 points in each of the last two years. He'll top out around 20 points if he can stay healthy.
Mitchell inked a deal with the Kings in August and should give the team a veteran defensive presence on the blueline. He won't provide much of a fantasy impact however and will be lucky to register 20 points.
As the Canucks' longest tenured player, Mitchell put together a career-best campaign in 2008-09, totaling 23 points (3 goals, 20 assists) with a 29 plus/minus rating. He'll once again be a locker room leader for a young club, but newfound depth on Vancouver's back end should cut into his minutes again, making it unlikely for the 32-year-old to repeat last season's performance.
The 31-year-old defenseman is in the running to be named team captain, but a "C" on the sweater doesn't mean a player is fantasy worthy. In two seasons with the Canucks, Mitchell has tallied three goals and 20 assists in 134 games. The best bet would be to find a higher scoring backend option.
Mitchell is more known for his defensive prowess than offensive flair. He has the ability to create opportunities for his teammates, but leaves that job to others on the team better suited to it. Though limited in regards to fantasy value, Mitchell is invaluable to his NHL team.
Mitchell isn't on the ice to score points, so anything he adds to the scoresheet is a bonus. He will rack up the PIMs and is valued to his team in all those intangible categories fantasy teams ignore.
He'll continue to anchor the blue line for the Wild, but doesn't offer much scoring for fantasy purposes.