NHL News

Source: Blackhawks, Denver’s Mitchell reach deal

The Chicago Blackhawks‘ top defensive prospect, Ian Mitchell, has decided to forgo his senior season at Denver and sign an entry-level NHL contract, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Mitchell has not yet signed a contract, but both sides agreed on terms. Barstool Sports first reported the agreement.

Mitchell, 21, was a second-round draft pick of the Blackhawks in 2017. He spent three years at Denver. The Blackhawks tried to sign Mitchell last summer, but he chose to return to the Pioneers in hopes of winning a championship.

Mitchell was a captain at Denver this past season and set career highs in goals (10) and points (32) through 36 games. The Pioneers were ranked No. 5 nationally when the NCAA shut down the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In January, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman told reporters that Mitchell “dominated the games I saw at Denver this year” and that the defenseman’s “game lines up exactly how we want to play.”

“I wish he was here now,” Bowman said in January. “But I understand being captain of your team, you want to go back and try to win the championship of the NCAAs. We wish them well. Whenever that time’s right, we’re going to be looking to bring him here.”

While 34-year-old Brent Seabrook and 36-year-old Duncan Keith are still under contract for the next few years, the Blackhawks hope Mitchell and 19-year-old Adam Boqvist can eventually take over as the face of the blue line. Boqvist, a 2018 first-round pick, played in 41 games this season.

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