Per Bruce Berlet at CTWhale.com, Rangers Assistant Coach/Assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld in discussing the contributions of the Whale to the New York Rangers 2010-11 season last month said that the team will qualify restricted free agent John Mitchell this summer.
“I was really happy with him,” Schoenfeld said. “Here’s a guy that had a knee injury and missed seven weeks and then broke his foot (in Hartford), so one thing that was hurt was his conditioning. And yet he’s a big body (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) with skill, and he’s competitive and intelligent. So this is a very important summer for him in terms of his commitment to conditioning. He’ll get a real good look as far as becoming a Ranger.”His skills lend him the ability to make the team as either a fourth line center or an extra forward that they carry in case of injury. Mitchell was acquired at the trade deadline from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 7th round draft pick in 2012. The qualifying offer for Mitchell will be $761,250 and because he did not play 60 games last year, or 180 NHL games in the past three years that qualifying offer can be a two-way deal instead of requiring a one-way contract. Given those factors, the decision to qualify Mitchell was one that seems easy for the Rangers to make as he either makes the Rangers at a very reasonable salary or becomes a solid AHL veteran to mix with all the young prospects that will be infused into Connecticut next season.
Hat tip to Dave Shapiro over at Blue Seat Blogs for finding this.