The Montreal Canadiens have traded away forward Torey Mitchell to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the Canadiens announced Thursday. This deal comes on a league-wide off-day as players get to spend time with their friends and families on Thanksgiving (in the United States, at least). For NHL general managers, however, the holidays don’t mean a day off. Instead, the job calls for constant diligence 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Canadiens have acquired Los Angeles’ 5th-round conditional pick in 2018, in return for forward Torrey Mitchell.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) November 23, 2017
Playing in just 11 games with the Canadiens this season, Mitchell has failed to record a point in the 2017-18 season and will look to change that with the Kings. The 32-year-old is primarily a fourth-line player – a role he’s embraced throughout his career. Originally drafted in the fourth-round fo the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks, Mitchell has scored 61 goals and 141 points in 617 career games to date split between the Sharks, the Minnesota Wild, the Buffalo Sabres and the Canadiens.
Originally from Greenfield Park, Quebec, Mitchell was traded to the Canadiens from the Sabres during the 2014-15 season in a homecoming move of sorts. The already well-traveled veteran will not get a chance to play on the Kings – a stark contrast from the lowly Canadiens who occupy a bottom-five spot in the league at the time of the trade.
Teams Heading in Opposite Directions
While the Kings have cooled down as of late, they still occupy second place in the ever-competitive Pacific Division and have a legitimate chance of returning to the playoffs this season after stumbling in recent years. Adding Mitchell is a depth move for Los Angeles and comes just over a week after the Kings swapped Michael Cammalleri for Jussi Jokinen.
Adding two seasoned and well-traveled veterans in Jokinen and Mitchell, the Kings are making small moves to solidify their bottom-six in an attempt to bolster their lineup. These moves aren’t game-changers and shouldn’t be seen as anything major but for a team looking to separate themselves from the pack and establish themselves as Stanley Cup contenders, a solid lineup from top to bottom is essential.
Canadiens in Disarray
For the Canadiens, the situation is a little different. A team that has gone between making the playoffs and finishing near the top of the Atlantic Division standings to missing the playoffs and getting top-10 picks in the process, the Canadiens have done it all in recent years. All, except for winning the Stanley Cup, that is.
The Canadiens have made multiple trades in recent years, however, ranging from small moves like acquiring and trading away a player like Mitchell, to blockbusters that have shaken up the hockey world. Two recent examples include the trade that sent P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Shea Weber and the trade that sent Mikhail Sergachev to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Jonathan Drouin.
With the Canadiens rumored to be looking at a lengthy rebuild, a trade involving Mitchell this season should just be the tip of the iceberg. There are many big names on the Habs that are rumored to be available in trade talks. Whether or not these rumors are true won’t be known until an actual trade happens, but the Canadiens will certainly be the team to watch as this season unfolds.