2012 NHL Free Agency: Making a Case for Peter Mueller
Mueller, 24, has not been extending a qualifying offer by the Colorado Avalanche. Mueller was Phoenix’s 8th overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and has all kinds of potential. However, as many of us already know, Peter Mueller’s young career has been spoiled by concussions and post-concussion syndrome. Over the last three seasons Mueller has played in only 101 games, playing only 32 last year. Join me for more about the curious case of Benjamin Button Peter Mueller after the jump…
#88 / Center / Colorado Avalanche
Apr 14, 1988
Mueller is the definition of a high-risk, high-reward UFA. If Mueller can stay healthy, he may very well be the biggest steal of this summer’s free agent market, if he is signed for a multi-year deal and gets injured again he could be the signing that drives fans crazy. There is no denying that Mueller has top-six talent and can be a gamebreaker but is he worth the risk?
I know that many Rangers fans are desperate to add some scoring. Mueller has at least twenty goals in his stick and, going by very small sample sizes, has the potential to be nearly a point per game player (don’t yell at me George). Mueller is gifted with good size, fantastic hands, and can both create plays and finish them. Mueller has been criticized as the kind of player that takes some nights off and seems uninterested in the defensive aspect of the game at times. Mueller’s skating has also been called into question throughout his career. Perhaps playing in Tortorella’s system will balance out Mueller’s game and convince him that hustle and work ethic can make up for not being gifted with a beautiful stride.
Peter Mueller is coming off of a 2 year, $4 million deal with the Avalanche, I can’t imagine him commanding a lot more than that this offseason. If the price for Mueller becomes a multi-year deal with him getting north of $3 million per year the Rangers should back away slowly, but if he can be had for something similar to his last contract, he might very well be a big steal. A short investment at a reasonable price for a player that can provide some much-needed offense into the lineup and potentially be a key part of the powerplay would be a fantastic addition for the Rangers this offseason. Mueller is also capable of playing both wing and center and is a right-handed shot, something the Rangers should be very interested in, considering the glut of southpaw forwards in the lineup.
If I was sitting in the GM’s office I wouldn’t offer Mueller more than three years and certainly wouldn’t go over $2.8 million a season because of his injury history. I am sure that Mueller is going to get some interesting offers from a few teams this offseason but the Rangers can offer him a chance to be a part of a young, highly competitive team, and to play with names like Richards and Gaborik. Mueller also happens to be a native of Michigan and might enjoy playing hockey with a bunch of other American kids.
I think that Mueller is the kind of player the Rangers should call up and talk to on July 1st, just to see what he is expecting in terms of a contract and what he wants to do with his career. I understand that he is a big risk because of his vulnerability to concussions, but sometimes you get a good feeling about a guy… and I have that feeling with Mueller. What do you guys think?