Skip to content

Kings’ Mitchell (knee) officially done for year, ‘legitimate concern’ for next season

Apr 4, 2013, 11:37 AM EDT

willie-mitchell-getty Getty Images

Earlier this week, we passed along word that LA defenseman Willie Mitchell underwent another knee surgery, one that agent Mike Liut said would sideline Mitchell for the remainder of the year but would have him ready for next season.

Now, that latter diagnosis is coming into question.

Yesterday, Kings GM Dean Lombardi said the only certainty is that Mitchell won’t play this year — anything beyond that, the club simply doesn’t know.

“At least we got some finality that he’s not coming back this year,” Lombardi told Mayors Manor. “Now I’m getting some information, and I don’t like speaking to it because I don’t have it all, but I guess it’s safe to say that there would be a legitimate concern now about whether he plays next year.”

Mitchell, 35, is in the first season of a two-year, $7 million deal. He carries an average annual cap hit of $3.5 million and, because he signed as an over-35 player (he turns 36 later this month), the Kings are on the hook for the entirety of his salary.

Furthermore, Mitchell wouldn’t be eligible for a compliance buyout this summer because he’s injured.

It’s a tough blow for a Kings team looking to repeat as Stanley Cup champs. Mitchell was an integral part of LA’s success in 2011-12, scoring a career-high 24 points while shouldering a huge workload in the playoffs, averaging 25:19 TOI per game through 20 contests.

The only King to play more during the Cup run was Drew Doughty.

As such, Lombardi was guarded about trying to predict Mitchell’s future, but made it clear there’s a lot of doubt at hand.

“Let’s just say now that [missing next season] is possible, where I wouldn’t have thought it possible [before],” Lombardi said. “We always thought, okay, well if we don’t get him back this year, this isn’t serious.

“But apparently some other things might’ve shown up. Until I get the whole story, I probably should hold off.”

Latest Posts
  1. Wild focus on handling Avs’ speed

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:15 AM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Two Getty Images

    “You can’t defend on your heels,” Ryan Suter said.

  2. MacKinnon, Avs shine against Wild, take 2-0 series lead

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:35 AM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Two Getty Images

    Colorado overcomes some strange officiating late in Game 2.

  3. Video: Roenick says MacKinnon is more dominant at 18 than Crosby was

    Apr 19, 2014, 11:56 PM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Two Getty Images

    Colorado’s rookie sensation is inspiring some bold words.

  4. Red-hot Avs chase Bryzgalov in second period

    Apr 19, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game One Getty Images

    Colorado might want to keep Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon together.

  5. Blue Jackets’ Tyutin appears to suffer injury

    Apr 19, 2014, 10:33 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    The defenseman last played in the first period.

  6. Video: Nathan MacKinnon’s first career playoff goal is gorgeous

    Apr 19, 2014, 10:18 PM EDT

    Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Two Getty Images

    He’s clearly not wilting in the postseason spotlight.

  7. Hitchcock’s Backes update: He’s not great

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT

    St Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    The Blues coach mostly pleads the fifth.

  8. Seabrook: ‘I was just trying to make a play on Backes’

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:52 PM EDT

    Brent Seabrook Getty Images

    His play may wind up costing him a suspension.

  9. WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 2)

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Evgeni Malkin, Derek MacKenzie AP

    Pittsburgh carries a 1-0 series lead into Saturday.

  10. Video: Bryan Bickell goes knee-on-knee with Vladimir Sobotka

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v St. Louis Blues - Game Two Getty Images

    His penalty got things going in the wrong direction for Chicago.

  11. Video: Blues’ Shattenkirk beats the buzzer in first period

    Apr 19, 2014, 5:08 PM EDT

    Kevin Shattenkirk AP

    His goal is the difference in the game through two.

  12. Roy: Duchene will likely miss entire first round

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    Matt Duchene Getty Images

    He’s been out since March 29 with a knee injury.

Featured video

Detroit must exploit Boston's young D
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. T. Oshie (4326)
  2. M. Duchene (3683)
  3. E. Malkin (3382)
  4. B. Bishop (2960)
  5. D. Backes (2563)
  1. O. Palat (2546)
  2. H. Zetterberg (2545)
  3. R. Getzlaf (2405)
  4. V. Tarasenko (2352)
  5. S. Mason (2346)