Undrafted at 23, Mitchell Chaffee began his professional career with the Iowa Wild straight off his NCAA career in 2020. In his first year with them, in the middle of a strange truncated pandemic season no less, he was able to impress; he put up 17 points in 28 games for his first taste of the AHL in the middle of a pandemic.
There was hope for him to make a real impact in the 2021-22 season with Iowa as well. And he did not disappoint with 39 points in 49 games (ranked fourth in Iowa.) He is a gifted offensive player with a sneaky shot that he deploys from dangerous areas.
His two games with the big club this past year didn’t yield any points; however, he was pretty sheltered during that time. I don’t think it’s particularly indicative of the skill he brings to the table. I do not doubt Chaffee has the chops to produce to some degree in the NHL someday, the question will be: can he carve out a spot for himself amongst Minnesota’s already deep offensively gifted forward prospect pool? He is not a fourth-line grinder type like Brandon Duhaime or Connor Dewar. Although if the Minnesota Wild wanted to send out a more offensively minded fourth line, he’d fit in fine.
Chaffee had a solid pace for the AHL in Iowa last season with 23 goals and 16 assists. His 39 points in 49 games ranked fourth on Iowa. He certainly benefited from getting to play with some high-end linemates and scored nine power-play goals on a powerplay unit paired with the likes of Calen Addison and Marco Rossi. Given the space that playing with those players provides, he takes advantage of it taking shots whenever he can.
Roll the Tape
Some tape from his NCAA career – a solid scorer at UMASS; he was named as one of the team’s co-captains for the 2019–20 season.
Chaffee is an exceptional sharpshooter at the right circle and shows his ability to score on the power play.
Chaffee had an excellent game against the San Diego Gulls, where he scored a natural hat trick.
Most of the highlights you come across are of this guy shooting pucks. He’s a proven scorer at every level he’s had the opportunity to play.
Chaffee’s future with the Minnesota Wild has less to do with whether he can develop into a true NHLer and more with where he falls amongst Minnesota’s other offensively minded forward prospects. The names ahead of him on that list are all offensively gifted. Rossi and Boldy are top-six players. The franchise (and fanbase) is interested in Adam Beckman’s middle-six potential. Furthermore, it’s hard to imagine him ousting anyone in the middle six on the Wild’s current roster: I mean, we live and die by the success of the JEEk line. And there are players like Tyson Jost and now Sam Steel, already competing to move out of the fourth-line and find their stride with the Wild.
I love betting on the upside, and I think Chaffee will be an NHLer someday. Undrafted types absolutely can show their mettle later down the line, but with Bill Guerin, Dean Evason and brass’s love of responsible grinder types, it’s easy to imagine that Chaffee going the way of Rem Pitlick. It’s too bad because I am sure a fanbase is going to love watching him score.