The Los Angeles Kings beloved 37-year old defenseman Willie Mitchell, leaves the team after fulfilling his duties as a dominant blue liner; 209 games, 46 points, a season lost to injury, countless penalty kills and two Stanley Cups.
During talks of who would sign, due to salary cap issues, a Kings executive had stated, “Unfortunately, no room,” for Mitchell. On the first day of free agency, Mitchell signed a two-year, 8.5-million dollar contract with the Florida Panthers.
Mitchell joined the Kings in 2010, he re-signed late in 2011-12, and missed the entire 2012-13 season due to knee injuries. His contract averages 4.25 annually which is the highest of his career.
Florida receives a veteran player with great experience, a big body, penalty killer and player who is capable of handling heavy defensive responsibilities. They also get a player who has a great deal of experience to teach the younger players. Kings defenseman always tended to thank Mitchell when they would have a good night and give him credit for his help and leadership.
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. He was always approachable, a favorite of reporters and broadcasters, and why not- restaurant recommendations.
It’s a presence no one wants absent but a 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.
Mitchell will be missed as a player especially to a team that loved him so greatly. His positive attitude and bright smile will be missed, and he is wished the best on his new endeavor.Tags: Hockey, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Kings, NHL, Willie Mitchell