On Wednesday, The Athletic's Scott Powers reported that the Blackhawks officially signed defenseman Ian Mitchell, 21, to a three-year entry-level contract, beginning next season.
UPDATE: The Blackhawks made the signing official on Thursday. Mitchell's contract will indeed kickoff next year and run through the 2022-23 season. He'll carry a cap hit of $925,000.
He would have been ineligible to play with the Hawks in the play-in round of the NHL's 24-team playoffs this summer and would have burned the first year of his contract if he joined the team for Phase 3 training camp leading up to the postseason.
The blueliner, who spent the past three seasons at the University of Denver, was drafted by the Blackhawks in the second round (No. 57 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft.
On April 13, Mitchell agreed to the terms of the contract but because of the NHL pause and the unknown circumstances at the time, the start date wasn't yet determined.
The defenseman has been thought of as a key piece to the Blackhawks' future since his selection. He captained Denver this past season and set a career high in goals (10) and points (32) through 36 games.