John Mitchell was not a player anyone really expected to touch the ice in a Rangers jersey at any point this season, but that changed on November 25 of 2011 when he was recalled by the team from the Connecticut Whale of the AHL to play against the Washington Capitals, along with Carl Hagelin. Mitchell would never look back to the AHL from that point on, sticking with the Blueshirts for the entire season and playing in 63 games over the course of that time. Surprisingly enough, he went on to play in 18 of the Rangers' 20 postseason tilts as well.
The Good: John Mitchell is not someone who will potentially cost you a game, which is something that is sadly a plus for a fourth line player on the Rangers. He could take faceoffs, he was committed defensively and, for the most part, he knew where to be at all times. He learned the system quickly upon being recalled by the team, and he did (sort of) contribute offensively with five goals and 16 points.
Mitchell became a player that head coach John Tortorella gained trust in, so it wasn't necessarily a shock to see him out there in crucial situations. For example, he won the faceoff that led to Marc Staal's overtime winner in Game 5 of the semifinals against the Washington Capitals. Also in that series, he made a huge shot block that led to Marian Gaborik's triple overtime winner in Game 3. So Mitchell certainly did have his moments as a New York Ranger.
The Bad: The main problem with Mitchell is that he can be replaced and will not be missed. There are plenty more individuals just within this organization alone who could fill his role and bring more to the table than he did throughout the past season. Mitchell is not an offensive force or someone who stands out for any specific reason. He's just sort of a 'meh' player if that makes any sense to you; he's boring, bland and doesn't possess any special talents.
Not to mention that Mitchell is already 27-years-old, so it's not like he is young and just starting out in this League as a rookie. To me, he's a career AHL player that the Rangers need to drop from their roster if they wish to be considered serious contenders.
Highlight of the Year:
Overall Assessment: Due to become an unrestricted free agent in July, it is very unlikely that his career as a member of the New York Rangers organization will be going any further than it already has. He is an easily replaceable player for the Rangers and the team needs all the roster space they can create for new, more effective additions as well as for younger players ready to make the jump from the AHL/Juniors into the NHL.
Report Card Grade: C
RANGERS EXTEND QUALIFYING OFFERS
#NYR Rangers have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Zuccarello, Stralman, and Del Zotto
— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) June 16, 2012