Former Vancouver Canucks Willie Mitchell's Send-Off To LA

Nucks IceMan@nucksiceman@twitter.comCorrespondent IAugust 27, 2010

VANCOUVER, CANADA - OCTOBER 17: Defenceman Willie Mitchell #8 of the Vancouver Canucks sits on the bench during the pre game warmup prior to the NHL game against the Minnesota Wild on October 17, 2009 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

I for one am sad to see this very popular Canuck go to the Los Angeles Kings as I was hoping the Canucks would be able to fit him into their salary cap.

But that's the realty when a player is offered a two year $7 million contract that he signed for.

That figure was never going to be in the Canucks offers and it now becomes LA’s problem at dancing with the cap space, especially if they have any intention of pursuing Ilya Kovalchuk.

If you take a look at the ‘Nucks $3.6 million over that dreaded cap, they have enough problems of their own, although they will have some LTIR space while Alex Burrows and Sami Salo heal.

Mitchell was by far the Canucks best shut down D-man, played with a lot of heart, not gifted offensively but was one of the few physical guys on the team. If Willie can stay healthy, then LA will have added a very valuable piece to an already good back-end.

I will always remember Mitchell when he was with Minnesota and the battles that he and Todd Bertuzzi use to have. Those two were like giant sumo wrestlers going head to head with no quarters given and you could hear it all over the ice.

Mitchell was very involved in community work and when he walked into the Children’s Hospital his smile lit up the ward like the brilliant sun that we have during the summer.

I don’t think Willie will miss the long dreary, dark, rainy winters up here, when he can relish in the LA sun during that time but he will miss the fishing.



Home—well LA may be the place of employment for the next two seasons but BC will always be home.

He will be a great mentor for Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, so guys pay attention because he has a truck load of experience to help you with.

Along with Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi, the Kings now have a formidable defense with the addition of Mitchell.

You throw in the offseason signing of UFA Alexei Ponikarovsky, with a mixture of the young guns Anze Kopitar, Scott Parse, Wayne Simmonds and Dustin Brown, sprinkle in a few veterans of Ryan Smyth, Michael Handzus, Jarrett Stoll and Justin Williams and you have a recipe for a very good team.

I liked this team last year and I think it has the makings of another Chicago Blackhawks type of season.

Well, maybe not like last year but definitely like two seasons ago when Chicago finished third in the Western Conference.

It is fitting that the Canucks and Kings will meet to open up the NHL 2010-11 season and the one thing that is a given, is that the ‘Nucks will have their hands full.

As for the rest of the Pacific Division—watch out because here comes a Kings group to be reckoned with!