The title of the post; that’s how you can measure John Mitchell’s impact since coming to the Rangers at the tail end of last season. Not every player can be judged solely on points as Brian Boyle would surely agree.
Mitchell has come over to the Rangers and fits with how John Tortorella wants to play. He plays hard in the corners, uses his size to good effect while his work ethic and effort are unquestioned. However, Mitchell can use the puck effectively as well. In fact, 13 points in 45 games don’t do Mitchell justice even if they look better when considering his +14 rating.
Mitchell has been rewarded with powerplay time in recent games and while that’s perhaps more damning to other players – and the powerplay overall – as it is a reward for Mitchell, it suggests the coach has a high opinion of the big center. Mitchell has a good chance of being retained by the Rangers after this season because simply put he’s a low cost player that can contribute all over the ice. Getting cheap role players that can contribute is a critical aspect of a successful team in the cap era.
The Ontario native is another underrated addition by Glen Sather as the forward only cost a seventh round pick in this year’s draft and has made an impact for both the Whale and now, for the Rangers. Depth wins you hockey games and Mitchell is a solid bottom six role player for the Rangers who has surprised with hockey intelligence.
Mitchell played on poor Toronto clubs where he scored close to thirty points (or a 30+ point pace) and his junior and AHL careers point to some decent offensive ability. The Rangers have done in a good job in recent seasons of getting contributions from all over the roster and it is indeed one reason for their success this season.
When several of your bottom six forwards, role players, are all chipping in between 5-10 goals each respectively it eases the burden of expectation on the likes of Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan. With playoff opponents such as Boston, Pittsburgh and Jersey looming it will be critical to maintain a level of production from the ‘lesser lights’ on the roster. Players such as John Mitchell.