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Friday, April 18, 2008

Received two conflicting opinions on whether Mark Mitera will stay or go. Western College Hockey's Chris Dilks:

I think the odds of Mitera leaving are probably better than 50/50. Pretty much everything I've ever heard is that Mitera would leave Michigan after three years, even before his freshman season. I kind of discount the midseason chatter about him staying. You hear that from a lot of players who get caught up in the camaraderie of the team during the year, and don't want to make it seem like they're bailing on their their teammates as soon as the season as is over. But once the season is over, they sit down and look at it and decide it's really best for them to sign. Personally, I think Mitera is ready to go. I'm not sure what else is left for him to prove at the college level.
Is it best for Mitera to sign? Gabe Nelson, currently at the Michigan Daily, provides some insight into Mitera himself...
He is a junior biophysics major who takes his studies seriously. My friend was his lab partner and said always worked hard and cared about his education. He's one year from that degree. Considering he's the only upperclassman hockey player in a legitimate major, don't you think that indicates a determination to stick it out?
...and the situation of the Anaheim Ducks:
The Ducks are likely to get knocked out of the playoffs by the Stars, reducing their immediate need for a rookie defenseman, and already have a stacked defensive core in the NHL.

Francois Beauchemin
Marc-Andre Bergeron
Joe DiPenta
Kent Huskins
Scott Niedermayer
Sean O'Donnell
Chris Pronger "C"
Mathieu Schneider

They have six legitimate top-six defensemen on that list. They are not hurting immediately for another. And would Mitera leave Michigan so he could go play for an AHL affiliate and probably not make the Ducks right away? Another year at Michigan, with visibility as the captain, gives him a better shot at making the team right away and gives him better leverage for a contract.

Just a thought. I'd personally be shocked if Mitera decided to leave. He has very little to gain.
Nelson's right about the Ducks' D corps. All but DiPenta are signed next year and all but Huskins are solid NHL defensemen making 1.2 M+. There's no room at the inn for Mitera and no chance he'd make the team. He's also right about Mitera's degree program:
Personal... Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, majoring in biophysics ... Graduated with honors from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in 2005. ... Drafted in the first round (No. 19 overall) by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
No independent study there.

Not to unduly insult someone who's weighing whether to take the NHL millions now or later, but I also question Chris's assertion that Mitera has no developing left to do at the college level. He was indeed lights out early in the season, but as soon as he deflected a Notre Dame shot into the top corner of the net in January there was a significant wobble to his game: turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. There were several games in which Mitera was directly responsible for opponent scoring chances and goals via sloppy passes or turnovers along the boards. At no time did he seem to be above the level of competition like Mike Komisarek or JMFJ.

He's clearly very good and could go if he wants, but if he's serious about school -- check -- and is going to be developing at Michigan or in the AHL, -- check -- I think he might stay. Lord knows Michigan's lost kids with no chance of making the show for years, and by merely floating the idea of a return I have singlehandedly guaranteed he'll depart August 15th immediately after tearing everyone's ACL in fit of pique. But the indicators here are not all bad.