03/06/2014 5:30 PM
The Pirates roster saw a bit of a shake up on Wednesday as the Phoenix Coyotes made a couple of moves at the trade deadline. David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois were shipped to Chicago while Rostislav Klesla and Chris Brown were traded to Washington for Martin Erat. As part of the trade with Washington, the Coyotes also acquired forward John Mitchell from the Hershey Bears.
Mitchell got into Portland late Wednesday night but is excited about being in Portland and playing with the Pirates.
“It’s been a warm welcoming so far,” Mitchell said. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about the city, so it’s good to be here.”
Before he began his career in the AHL, Mitchell played for the Wisconsin Badgers for four years from 2006-10, his best season coming as a junior in 2008-09 where he scored 15 goals and 11 assists in 40 games. Mitchell credits his time in Madison for making him the player that he is today, everything from the coaching staff to the atmosphere that the University of Wisconsin provided.
“The coach there, Mike Eaves, he’s a very detailed coach, he taught me a lot of what I use today. I owe a lot of credit of where I am today to him,” Mitchell said. “They recruit big time players. It really helps you to increase your game, bring your game to the next level and move on to the next level.”
This is Mitchell’s fourth season playing in the AHL as the 27-year-old joined the league in 2010-11 with the Syracuse Crunch. He played two seasons in Syracuse before joining the Norfolk Admirals last season and the Hershey Bears earlier this season. In his four years in the AHL, Mitchell has compiled 30 goals, 27 assists with 153 penalty minutes in 191 games. He also has played in four playoff games with the Crunch in 2012, appearing in four games and scoring a goal.
While the first thing you notice about Mitchell is his size, coach Ray Edwards has heard some compliments about his style from his coaches in Hershey.
“He’s a big guy, obviously, he’s been a penalty killer in the past. Apparently, he’s got a good cerebral game, he’s a smart player,” Edwards said. Having a good mind for the game is always an asset, as is defensive awareness, but it is not the only thing Edwards hopes to see out of his newest winger. “Obviously, a big guy like that, you want a guy that’s going to be a power forward type guy that’s going to go up and down the wing, get pucks out, get pucks in, be good around the net.”
Mitchell spent some time working with the penalty killing unit on Thursday and ran drills on a line with Tim Kennedy and Brandon Yip. For now, Edwards is still trying to gauge the kind of role Mitchell will play, but said he will see how things unfold this weekend.
Mitchell will have to transition quickly as the team has three games this weekend. Going from one team to another can be tough, but Mitchell is prepared to take it all in stride.
“It’s been a second time for me being traded,” Mitchell said. “The first time is al title bit of a shock and getting used to, but you just become a little more mature, you take in the things, deal with adversity a little better and it makes the transition a lot easier.”
Mitchell and the Pirates will kick off their weekend hosting the Albany Devils Friday night at 7 pm. Friday’s game can be heard on the Pirates flagship stations WPEI 95.5/95.9 FM as well as WEZR AM 1240 in the Lewiston/Auburn area and WTME AM 780/1450 in Oxford County. The game can also be heard online atportlandpirates.com by clicking “Listen Live” and can be seen live at ahllive.com. The pregame show starts at 6:40 with Jeff Mannix.
Tickets for this Friday’s game are available by calling the Androscoggin Bank Colisee box office at (207) 783-2009 ext. 525 or online at thecolisee.com.
Follow all the action on the Pirates official Facebook page and Twitter account (@PortlandPirates) with the hashtag #PiratesHome.
Season tickets for the 2014-15 season are now on sale as the Pirates return to the Cumberland County Civic Center! Choose the 5 on the Fly, Salty’s 16, or Captain’s Full Season Plan, all with great benefits! For more information on season ticket plans, visit http://www.portlandpirates.com/tickets/season or call 207-828-4665.