Chops pick up Anaheim first-rounder Mitera

iow08_200.jpgThe Anaheim Ducks announced on Monday that they have signed defenseman Mark Mitera to a three-year entry-level contract.

Mitera will report directly to the Iowa Chops, Anaheim’s primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League.

Per club policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

Mitera, 21, served as team captain in his senior year with the University of Michigan Wolverines this season, scoring 1-2=3 points in eight contests (including five postseason appearances). The 6-3, 213-pound blueliner missed most of the year with a torn ACL in his left knee suffered on Oct. 10 vs. St. Lawrence. Mitera returned to the lineup on Feb. 27 at Ferris State for the final three regular season games. He recorded 1-1=2 points in his second game back from injury on Feb. 28 vs. Ferris State.

After finishing second in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) during the regular season, Michigan swept Western Michigan in the CCHA Quarterfinals (6-1, 4-0) and beat Alaska (3-1) in the CCHA Semifinals before falling to Notre Dame (5-2) in the Conference Championship. The Wolverines earned a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament but lost to Air Force, 2-0 in the first round.

A native of Royal Oak, Mich., Mitera served as an alternate captain during his junior season at Michigan in 2007-08. He was named the Inside College Hockey Defenseman of the Year and also qualified as a CCHA finalist for Best Defensive Defenseman. In addition, Mitera was named to the NCAA East Regional All-Tournament team. With 2-21=23 points in 43 games in 2007-08, he finished first among Wolverines in scoring, setting career highs in goals, points and assists. He helped to lead the club to a CCHA Championship.

A first-round selection (19th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Mitera played all four of his collegiate seasons at Michigan. In 131 career games with the Wolverines, Mitera collected 4-50=54 points with 175 penalty minutes. A member of the 2005-06 National Junior Team, he also won a Gold Medal with Team USA at the 2005 World Under-18 Championships.