You know, for a bottom-six skillset, John Mitchell has really disproportionally polarized Avalanche fans forever. Let's see if we can figure out which way the wind will blow this season.
As far as JFM goes, 2014-15 was very very average. His 26 points were about what he brings to the table every year, as were his relative Corsi/Fenwick (just south of even), shooting percentage, even his PiMs were very Standard John Mitchell Numbers.
You have to dive into his dCorsi to find a difference and it isn't much of one. His situation was somewhat tougher than previous seasons, and his impacts went the wrong direction on both for and against stats (dCFI = -17.65, dCAI = 30.94). When I saw that I was curious what exactly about his situation was different, but all I could figure was that the team around him was worse. Not that he helped a lot. In the last 3 years his possession numbers have actually been kind of trending the wrong way. It's not an immediate dive to Grumpy Bear's Top Left Corner, but it's heading in that direction.
The order of these circles is from lightest to darkest, indicating that he's been swooping steadily in the Worse O/Worse D direction since probably mid-2013. But like above, so has the team around him. These differences aren't very large.
What does it mean for 2015?
Hopefully, with the additions of Blake Comeau and Mikhail Grigorenko, John Mitchell's role will remain very limited. If we see him on the second line we fucking lost, but kept to the third or especially fourth, where it doesn't really hurt anything if he periodically goes Malkin with the puck, he's a better option than most at his payscale (a deal worthy of GM Jesus Nill himself). It would just get scary if he ends up an injury fill-in much higher than that. Mitchell is a very consistent guy. It's not hard to predict what we'll get out of him.
One last thing to remember is this is Mitchell's 31-year-old season. He might just be starting to decline some. But that's all speculation until it absolutely happens. What say you? More of the same from Mitchell this year? Something else?
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