Bruins come to terms with one of their newest additions
Don Sweeney and the Bruins have officially avoided a salary arbitration hearing with at least one of their restricted free agents, as Monday saw the team finalize a one-year, one-way contract with defenseman Ian Mitchell.
Mitchell, who was scheduled for a July 26 arbitration hearing, will make a league-minimum $775,000 on his new deal with the club.
Acquired in the cap-clearing deal that sent Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno to the Blackhawks, Mitchell is coming off a 2022-23 campaign that included a career-high seven assists and eight points, along with a career-high 15:50 of time on ice, in 35 games for Chicago. A 2017 second-round pick, the 5-foot-11 Mitchell has skated in 82 games for the Blackhawks since 2021, with four goals and 16 points, along with a minus-21 rating and 83 blocks, and 15:04 per night.
A right-shooting defenseman, Mitchell is currently looking like Boston’s No. 8 defenseman, especially after the signing of veteran blue liner Kevin Shattenkirk on the first day of free agency. Keeping it just the right side, Mitchell seems likely to be the fourth name on Boston’s right-side defensive depth chart, below Shattenkirk, Brandon Carlo, and Charlie McAvoy.
Whether or not that’s enough for Mitchell to make the Bruins out of training camp will certainly be an interesting angle to follow between now and the start of the 2023-24 season.
Jakub Zboril, who spent the majority of the 2022-23 season as a healthy scratch, can play both the left and right side, and the Bruins also added right-shot defensemen Alec Regula and Reilly Walsh via trade. And whether or not the B’s even carry eight defensemen on their NHL roster in 2023-24 is its own question, as the team is littered with question marks up front.
With Mitchell taken care of, the Bruins will now aim to get deals done with arbitration-eligible restricted free agents Jeremy Swayman and Trent Frederic before their scheduled hearing dates. Swayman is currently scheduled for a hearing on July 30, while Frederic’s is slated for August 1.