Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: Ian Mitchell #14 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins technically had a day off on Wednesday, but GM Don Sweeney is still making moves.

Sweeney’s latest is that the Bruins are placing defenseman Ian Mitchell on waivers for the purpose of assignment. The team officially announced the move Wednesday.

Teams will now have the next 24 hours to claim Mitchell, but that doesn’t seem likely for the 24-year-old blue liner. If and when Mitchell clears waivers, the Bruins will have the option of reassigning him to Providence in the AHL.

Oct 21, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) stops a shot with defenseman Ian Mitchell (14) defending against Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) during the second period at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alex Gallardo-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 21, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) stops a shot with defenseman Ian Mitchell (14) defending against Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) during the second period at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alex Gallardo-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell has primarily been the Bruins’ seventh defenseman and a healthy scratch to begin the 2023-24 season. But he did see his first game action in last Saturday’s road win over the Los Angeles Kings, in which he logged 11:23 of ice time as a replacement for Derek Forbort on the third defensive pair, as the latter dealt with a minor injury.

Mitchell also played Sunday night in Anaheim against the Ducks, and grabbed an assist on Matt Poitras’ first of his two goals in that game. But at the end of the day, Mitchell was signed to provide depth and injury insurance, and not much more than that.

However, placing him on waivers could have bigger implications elsewhere on the team, beyond the minimal impact of the transaction itself. Here are some things to think about as Mitchell passes through waivers…

  • Will Mason Lohrei Get The Call-Up?

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: Mason Lohrei #6 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 05: Mason Lohrei #6 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Say Mitchell ends up heading down to Providence after waivers. Does that mean the Bruins will replace him on the NHL roster with promising 22-year-old defenseman Mason Lohrei? He’s got two points in five games with the P-Bruins so far, and consistently gets big minutes.

    In light of that, it might not make sense for the Bruins to bring Lohrei up to Boston, then healthy scratch him or limit his minutes on the ice. It might take an injury to Matt Grzelcyk or Hampus Lindholm for Lohrei to get serious consideration for a trial run in the NHL. But the kid’s intriguing. He should get a chance in Boston at some point this season, if it’s not this week.

  • Could They Sign Danton Heinen?

    Sep 26, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Danton Heinen (43) controls the puck during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 26, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Danton Heinen (43) controls the puck during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

    Old friend Danton Heinen remains with the Bruins after joining them via PTO in camp. He did have a solid preseason. But will the team actually sign him? Sending Mitchell down to Providence may help facilitate that. For a Bruins team that still seems to be finding the right forward combos, Heinen could at least provide some stability.

  • Is This Just A Cap Thing?

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 26: General Manager Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins speaks during Media Day ahead of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on May 26, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 26: General Manager Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins speaks during Media Day ahead of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on May 26, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    It’s possible that this Mitchell move was merely to create some cap space that they can use later, for, you know, whatever. Without getting into the minutiae of the thing, NHL teams can bank cap space on a daily basis with moves like these, and the B’s remain tight on money. So moving Mitchell to Providence could help a bit in that department.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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