One of the feel-good stories of the 2016-17 NHL season is making rounds once again. Garrett Mitchell, the captain of the AHL’s Hersey Bears, will return to the team in 2017-18. The team announced a new one-year deal with their locker room leader today.
Mitchell, 25, has been an alternate captain or captain for the Bears over the past four years and has been with the team for the past six, playing all but three of his 356 pro games with Hershey. One of those three outliers came in April, when the Washington Capitals rewarded Mitchell with his first career call-up and NHL game, much to the excitement of his teammates in Hersey.
A 2009 sixth-round pick, Mitchell has only produced modest offense in the AHL, but has been invaluable to the team for his leadership and responsible play. The Capitals, in appreciation of his role in helping to develop and protect their other AHL prospects, gave Mitchell, an impending free agent, the thrill of what was likely his first and only NHL experience. His new contract keeps him in Hersey, but as a minor league contract he is no longer property of the Capitals. Mitchell will continue to be the captain of the Bears and will help to make up for some the offense lost due to the departures of Paul Carey and Stanislav Galiev, so even though his NHL aspirations may be over, Mitchell will continue to be a well-regarded player and teammate and a fan favorite in Hershey.