Per ESPN.com’s Craig Custance, Willie Mitchell will not be returning to the Los Angeles Kings.
The 37-year old will enter his free agency period.
There are some things working agains the two time Stanley Cup champion, crucial defenseman, and beloved by fans player.
One, the Kings have six defenseman: Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Robyn Regehr, Slava Voynov, Alec Martinez, Matt Greene and restricted free agent Brayden McNabb.
Yes, Greene did get a new contract this year, but that doesn’t affect Mitchell because he is a left handed shooter and Greene is a right handed shooter.
Per Jon Rosen of lakingsinsider.com, “Mitchell was also looking for a two-year deal, which he will certainly receive. With an estimated 5.8 million dollars in cap space available (courtesy of CapGeek) for the coming season, and the need to sign restricted free agents Dwight King, Linden Vey and McNabb while keeping the club’s salary cap situation flexible in advance of free agency and any potential trades, the financials did not favor Mitchell. The Kings will also have a large group of players they’ll need to negotiate with in advance of July 1, 2015, when Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, Martinez and Regehr have the potential to become UFAs, and Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, Martin Jones, Kyle Clifford, Jordan Nolan and Muzzin could become RFAs.”
It will be unfortunate for Mitchell to go, as he is beloved by fans, on the ice he is respected, and his guidance is looked upon in the lock room. It’s a presence no one wants absent but a Kings executive has stated, “unfortunately, no room,” for Mitchell.
Mitchell has been with the Kings for four seasons, overall he has played 795 games, recording 165 points, a plus-120 rating, and in 89 playoff contests he recorded 16 points and a plus-19 rating.
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