Bruins notebook: Defenseman Ian Mitchell making a play for a roster spot

At first look, the Taylor Hall commerce to the Chicago Blackhawks regarded like a straight wage dump for the Bruins. They had been in wage cap hell and so they wanted to shed cash. Hall’s $6 million price ticket solved that situation in a single fell swoop.

But whereas gaining cap flexibility previous to free company was little question the principle impetus behind the Hall commerce, Ian Mitchell hopes the deal (which additionally included the negotiating rights to Nick Foligno) represents one thing extra to the Bruins than simply taking a spoonful of bitter drugs.

Mitchell and Alec Regula had been the 2 right-shot defensemen who got here in return for Hall. At the very least, the return bolstered the organizational depth at proper D, a place that wanted it. Mitchell, in the meantime, was one of many defensemen who popped late within the B’s 4-1 loss to Buffalo on Tuesday.

A second-round draft choose of the Hawks in 2017 (57th general), Mitchell was up and down between Chicago and Rockford the final three years, by no means actually gaining any traction. He’s joyful to get a second probability with one other group.

“It definitely didn’t go as I had hoped personally,” stated the Alberta native of his time in Chicago. “Going in, I think I had some high expectations that didn’t necessarily get met, so I’m just excited for a fresh start here with an organization that’s had a lot of success, so I’m trying to come in and help anyway I can.”

It doesn’t damage he has an vital particular person in his nook. Coach Jim Montgomery recruited Mitchell for the University of Denver and coached him in his first of three years there earlier than Montgomery went on to educate the Dallas Stars.

Mitchell was ecstatic to be going to Boston.

“I honestly couldn’t have been more thrilled,” stated Mitchell. “Some guys maybe aren’t too happy to be traded, but to come and be with Monty again and to be with a team that was so successful last year and try to learn from this established D-corps here was something I was really excited about.”

While his relationship with the pinnacle coach hardly ensures Mitchell a spot on the roster, Montgomery’s presence has bolstered his mindset.

“It’s huge, honestly,” stated Mitchell. “Just knowing that there’s someone behind the bench that knows my game and is comfortable with me, it definitely gives me confidence every time I hop onto the ice.”

While there are spots open within the backside six ahead group, there aren’t any apparent openings within the D corps, a minimum of not within the high six. While the B’s have misplaced Connor Clifton and Dmitry Orlov, they’ve nonetheless acquired Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and now Kevin Shattenkirk on the suitable facet, and Hampus Lindholm, Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort on the left, whereas Jakub Zboril, who was injured within the first preseason sport, may function the seventh D. Rookie Mason Lohrei is opening eyes as properly.

So it guarantees to be powerful roster to make for a man like Mitchell. On the opposite hand, he requires waivers to be despatched to Providence, which may work in his favor. What can be much more favorable is that if he continues to construct on his sport from Tuesday in Buffalo by which he helped push the tempo, particularly within the second and third intervals when the B’s had been chasing the rating.

“I thought he’s been good in both games, but I thought he started to assert himself in the last two periods,” stated Montgomery. “I thought he was on his toes, playing north, taking away time and space. He had the puck a lot. That was good. But I thought Grizzy and Lohrei did the same thing as the game wore on, so it was nice to see. That’s part of the game we’re trying to improve on. We’re asking defensemen to be more aggressive in the offensive zone because we want to spend more O-zone time. It’s good to see individuals applying what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Assistant coach Joe Sacco, who’s working the D-men this yr, likes what he’s seen to date.

“He’s had a good camp up to this point,” stated Sacco. “I thought the first game he played well. The second game he got better as the game went on. I thought the second game was the better game for him. He seemed more comfortable. He’s a guy that’s good with the puck. He’s good at the offensive blue line, he’s a smart player, he makes good plays, he makes good reads out there. He’s a good puck-moving defenseman that brings some skill.”

Sounds like somebody the B’s would possibly need to hold round.

Power pairing

After displaying what he’s able to within the B’s loss in Buffalo, Lohrei was paired with Charlie McAvoy in apply on Thursday. Just a look-see, stated Sacco.

“Just to get him some reps with Charlie,” stated Sacco. “A lot of the guys are in an evaluation process, they’re being evaluated in every practice, every game. We want to give some guys more of an opportunity to play with some established players in our lineup and see how they perform, see how they do defensively in certain situations that maybe a guy like Mason’s not accustomed to, playing against some top lines in practice or whatever the case may be.”

First cuts

The B’s made their first cuts of camp, sending to Providence Joey Abate, Vincent Arseneau, Justin Brazeau, Curtis Hall, Owen Pederson, Ethan Ritchie, Shane Starrett and Luke Toporowski.