The IceHogs announced today that Terrace, British Columbia native Brad Mills has signed an AHL contract with the team for the upcoming 2013-14 season.
In 2013, Mills played in 33 games for Rockford and put up 16 points (7 G, 9 A) and recorded a +8 plus/minus rating. The 30-year-old center appeared in 3 shootouts for the IceHogs and scored on 2 of his attempts; those 2 goals were both game winners (Feb. 17 vs. Lake Erie and March 8 at Oklahoma City).
Mills played his first game in an IceHogs sweater on February 1, 2013–the first tilt after the All Star break–while Rockford was visiting the San Antonio Rampage. His first game came on the 5th straight loss of their 6 game losing streak–which was a franchise record.
Mills was instrumental in helping the Hogs turn their season around and in making their playoff push. Not only did he score those 2 shootout winners, but he was solid in the face-off circle in all 3 zones, on the penalty kill and in the defensive zone as a whole. He also wasn’t afraid to drop the gloves and defend his teammates. On the PK, he was normally paired up with Brandon Svendsen and they got the job done on most occasions. He even served as alternate captain when Ben Smith was out of the line-up from mid-March to early April with an injury.
Being able to re-sign Mills for next season is huge for the IceHogs. His veteran presence and great defensive play will contribute to helping young Blackhawks prospects develop into even better players, especially centers. On a team that could look very different from the 2012-13 roster, it’s nice to have a familiar face returning.
For grins and giggles, here’s a picture of Mills fighting Cody Beach (yes, Kyle’s little brother) from March 1st.