Pretty darn close. Dale Mitchell is turning heads in the OHL, and itâ€™s not just because of his speed, itâ€™s because of his stats, albeit he is playing with Taylor Hall. Dale was drafted in the third round, 74th overall, of the 2007 NHL entry draft â€“ the same year Chris DiDomenico was drafted, so all in all it was a pretty decent draft year despite trading the 1st and 2nd round picks to SJS for Toskala. At the time, Mitchell posted an 80 point season (43G 37A) but was considered to be too small, even by todayâ€™s NHL standards (5â€™9â€ 180lbs).
The following year, in his 2007/08 campaign, Dale looked a bit out of place and took a few minor injuries and dropped from his 80 point plateau to 60 (24G 36A). He was a -2 and had 79PIM. It looked as though he would be a future Toronto Marlies player and likely succeed at a top end of a David Ling type player. Then, Mitchell turned the page and looked to better himself both on and off the ice.
Turn to this year: Mitchell is now 5â€™9â€ and 200lbs and is Windsorâ€™s 2nd line RW (behind Greg Nemisz), but it isnâ€™t the line # that counts, itâ€™s the player who performs on it. In just 39GP thus far, Dale Mitchell has posted an impressive 21G and 21A for 42P, but it isnâ€™t his points that are the most impressive aspect of his game, nor his 8PP goals; it is his +20 on the year. Heâ€™s considered a quick two-way player who has a knack of beating the opposition to his defensive zone.
Will he ever be a top line RW? Itâ€™s up in the air, but one thing is for sure, Dale Mitchell has worked for every point heâ€™s earned, and a player that is determined to better himself in order to better his game is a player worth taking a look at. If Dale ever becomes a 1st or 2nd line player, it will be because of his love for the game, and every hard working shift he put himself through to get there. Talent can only take you so far, your heart has to lead you the rest of the way.
Dale Mitchell is a team player, has the heart to make it, and could very well be a star in the making.
Micheal A. Aldred