SANTA MONICA – It’s safe to say that Torrey Mitchell is feeling like a very lucky man right about now.
Not only was the seven-year NHL veteran dealt from the League’s worst club to a squad currently leading the Eastern Conference standings on Monday, but he’s also joining his hometown team at a critical time of the year. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for the Greenfield Park native, who met with members of the media on Tuesday afternoon at the team hotel in Southern California.
|Torrey Mitchell meets with members of the media on Tuesday afternoon in Santa Monica, Calif. |
“It’s an incredible feeling. I’m excited. My family is excited. They’re all excited I’m coming home to play for the Canadiens,” offered the 30-year-old forward, who registered six goals and 13 points in 51 games with the Buffalo Sabres in 2014-15 prior to being traded to Montreal. “It’s a dream come true. In a span of 10 minutes, I went from the 30th place team to a team that has a chance to win a Stanley Cup. I hope that I can take advantage of this opportunity.”
There’s every reason to believe that Mitchell will do just that in La Belle Province. Plying his trade in Western New York hasn’t been easy, so suiting up in a winning environment will be all the motivation the former fourth-round selection needs to give it his all with the CH.
“There’s an atmosphere and a feeling amongst the guys that they know what it takes to win. It wasn’t like that for me this season in Buffalo. Spending some time in this type of atmosphere is really great,” confided Mitchell, who has also donned the colors of the San Jose Sharks and the Minnesota Wild over the course of his career. “The Canadiens are dangerous every time they have the puck. It seems like from the goalie position all the way up through the D and the forwards, they’re just dangerous.”
While Mitchell might not necessarily be “dangerous” in his own right when it comes to lighting the lamp and racking up points, he does bring many other intangibles to the table that will undoubtedly prove useful down the stretch and in postseason play.
“I’m a depth guy. I add depth to the lineup. I think I bring my speed and my leadership, my character and my penalty-killing ability and checking ability. I think I’ll bring a lot to the team,” stressed Mitchell, who will sport No. 17 with the Canadiens. “I think I’m a character player. I think I have good playoff experience. I think I can be a player that can help the team on the third or fourth line. I just try to be a good professional every day. I work hard. I have a good attitude.”
That being said, Mitchell – and fellow acquisition Brian Flynn – might also be the perfect candidates to provide some insider information about any weak points the Canadiens might still have with 19 games remaining in the regular season. After all, their former squad won its last three meetings with Michel Therrien’s troops dating back to late November.
“I don’t think there’s much wrong with this team, but for some reason Buffalo played well against them this year. I don’t know if that helped us get here or not, but it just worked out that way for some reason,” joked Mitchell, who had the opportunity to consult with former Canadiens captain Brian Gionta after learning that he was Montreal-bound. “He had good things to say about Montreal. He said I’d really enjoy it. He said it would be better than Buffalo.”
In Mitchell’s case, it already is.
“You’re just completely surrounded with the Canadiens when you live in Montreal. This opportunity is really incredible for me. There’s a lot of emotion involved in coming home,” concluded Mitchell, who admits to being comfortable playing either the center or wing positions. “I’ve been living in the U.S. for the last 13 or 14 years, so I lost my French a little bit. I’m looking forward to practicing my French, and I’m just pumped up to see all of the fans.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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