When Marc Bergevin acquired Brian Flynn earlier in the day, it seemed to make sense, as it added some depth at a reasonable price. Perhaps slightly more perplexing is the move to add Torrey Mitchell, as they now appear to have far too many bottom-six centres.
Who is Mitchell?
A native of Greenfield Park, Mitchell was a fourth round draft choice of the San Jose Sharks in 2004, and now makes his homecoming to the province of Quebec. Mitchell came up through the NCAA with the university of Vermont, and has spent time in the NHL with San Jose, Minnesota, and the Sabres.
The book on Mitchell reads a lot like that of a slightly younger Manny Malhotra, with a little more grit. He is a 30 year old two way centre, solid in the face-off circle, and possessing some good penalty killing skills. He is also noted for his physical play and ability to be a bit of an agitator, and although he stands at 5'11" and 190 pounds, he's been known to drop the gloves on occasion as well.
So far with Buffalo this year, Mitchell has 13 points over 51 games, and is sporting a career low 40% CF. It is noteworthy that he starts a slight majority of his shifts in the defensive zone, and that these numbers are surely affected by the fact that he plays in Buffalo.
Where does he slot in?
This is definitely a depth move, so one shouldn't expect him to immediately dress and eat a ton of minutes. He is very much like a second Manny Malhotra in the lineup, and is scoring points at a better rate, meaning he could usurp the aforementioned, although Malhotra is arguably the better face-off man. Some of these same things can be said about Brian Flynn, acquired earlier in the day, which makes it tough to project exactly how these two new additions fit on the Canadiens roster.
The price for acquiring Mitchell was initially unclear, but we now know it was a seventh round pick in 2016 and Jack Nevins of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Per Pierre LeBrun, we also know that the Sabres are retaining 50% of Mitchell's salary in the deal.