The Los Angeles Kings didn’t land the big fish (Ilya Kovalchuk) this summer, but they might be better off if Willie Mitchell can actually stay healthy this season.
Mitchell admitted that one of the most significant draws (besides the sexy weather, I’m guessing) was the possibility of playing alongside – or at least on the same blueline with – Kings stud defenseman Drew Doughty. The experienced defenseman knew Doughty was super-skilled, but he found out quickly that he knows how to make a great first impression too.
“I wore No. 8 in Vancouver. The first day he came in he was like, ‘Willie you can take my number,’ and I think that just speaks volumes of him as a kid,” Mitchell said.
He declined Doughty’s generous offer. “I said, ‘No, you had too good of a year last year. You’ve got to keep rocking that thing,’ ” Mitchell said, laughing.
“I think that speaks volumes of him. We were on the ice together the other day as a pair. It was fun seeing what he can do, how he reads and feels the game. I look forward to having a chance to play with him.”
That’s a great gesture from Doughty, an often dazzling player who hopefully will gain more exposure next season. Mitchell is a great fit for the team, whether the Kings opt to pair him with another defensive specialist in Rob Scuderi or a young blueliner such as Doughty or Jack Johnson. If Doughty-Mitchell is indeed a primary pairing, they certainly got off on the right foot.