Former Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell is expected to make his debut with the San Francisco Bulls at the Cow Palace tonight against the Colorado Eagles.
The Minnesota Wild forward joined the Bulls on Monday after signing a standard ECHL player contract with the club.
“It feels good,” Mitchell said. “I’m excited to be a part of a team again.”
Mitchell said he’s conditioned himself throughout the NHL lockout, so jumping on the ice tonight shouldn’t be a problem.
“The routine was probably four or five days a week, just get up in the morning and work out and skate after,” he said. “That’s pretty much the norm amongst all of the guys.”
The Sharks drafted Mitchell in the fourth round of the 2004 NHL draft (126th overall) and he made his NHL debut during the 2007-’08 season. In 280 regular season games, he’s collected 73 NHL points (30 goals, 43 assists) and 152 penalty minutes.
Mitchell signed a three-year, $5.7 million contract with the Wild in July.
Curcio said the club had been in conversation with Mitchell for roughly two months.
“He wanted to see how long the lockout lasted,” Curcio said. “I just kept the lines of communication going and then obviously Ryane [Clowe] played with him, so Ryane knew him pretty well.”
Mitchell and Clowe were teammates on the Sharks for five NHL seasons. Clowe joined the Bulls in a coaching role back in early November and Mitchell said his presence influenced his decision to jump on board.
“He basically convinced me to come out here,” Mitchell said. “We developed a pretty good friendship over the years and then we went to a conditioning camp in Dallas a couple months ago. He was telling me it was a pretty good setup and it was good to practice and get involved with all these guys, so I thought it was a good opportunity to stay in shape.”
But Mitchell’s stint with the club could be short-lived. The NHL and the players association resumed negotiations this week and the league is hoping to reach a deal within two weeks, so that a 48-game season can be played in 2013. The lockout is currently in its 109th day.
“If the lockout ends in two weeks, Torrey might be able to play three or four games with us and that would be great,” Curcio said. “If the lockout doesn’t end, we’ll get the benefit of Torrey and likely Ryane getting in the lineup and maybe one or two other guys that we’ve been in talks with.”