John Mitchell was Plymouth's nominee for the William Hanley Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike Player in the OHL) for both the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons.
Mitchell developed into a leader on Plymouth. Mitchell centers the Whalers second line alongside 2004 top draft prospect Vaclav Miedl, and sees significant time on both specialty team units. Mitchell is usually used against the opposition's top offensive unit, where he uses his size, speed and defensive smarts to shut the other team down. He is one of the OHL's best pivots in the face-off circle.
Plymouth coach and General Manager Mike Vellucci saw a lot of upside in Mitchell.
"I think that he has all the tools to play in the NHL. He is big and strong. He sees the ice well and can score. He has improved his defensive play. He (just) needs to improve on his consistency and his leg strength."
2005-06: After a quietly proficient junior career, the Waterloo, Ontario native had a bit of a challenge adjusting to the rigors of the professional ranks. In 51 AHL games, he netted only five goals and 17 assists.
2006-07: Mitchell progressed nicely in his second full AHL season. He improved his point total by 19 points – from 17 in 2005-06 to 36 last season. He played a checking role on the offense-starved Marlies and while that may be his calling, he also has the ability to chip in with 15-20 goals a year.
2007-08: In his third season with the club, Mitchell netted 20 goals and added 31 assists in 79 games with the Toronto Marlies (AHL). He added another 12 points (8g+4a) in 19 playoff games with the club.
His biggest asset is his good size down the middle. He is also adept on faceoffs and is reliable in his own end. He has all the makings of a NHL third-line center, but whether or not he will ever live up to that is another question. He skates well, has good size, can take faceoffs, plays well in his own end, but he never seems to put all of those skill sets together on a consistent basis.
Won't be a top scorer in the pros, but will give a team honest, reliable minutes. He has the potential to be a valuable third line player.