2013 Draft Eligibles: Mirco Mueller is another in the line of Swiss-born players to achieve success in the WHL

Two words come to mind when describing the play of Everett Silvertips defenseman Mirco Mueller. Smooth and mobile. Given Mueller’s size at 6’4 he’s remarkably agile and his crossover and pivots are excellent for such a big player. With his mobility and speed Mueller has an uncanny ability to cover a lot of ice defensively and on the offensive side his quickness opens up passing and shooting lanes for his teammates.

 

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Offensively, Mueller was reliable for Everett this past season registering 6 goals, 25 assists, for 31 points in 63 games played this year. Mueller, also spelled Müller, was the 11th overall pick in the CHL import draft last summer. He was expected to compliment Silvertips star Ryan Murray (CLB, 2nd overall,’12) but Murray only played 23 games this past season after he suffered a shoulder injury. In Murray’s absence, Mueller thrived becoming a key member of Everett in all facets of the game. Mueller’s rise from anonymity to household name in WHL circles has seen his name skyrocket on draft boards and will almost certainly be selected in the first round of this year’s draft.

 

Mueller is a creative playmaker with good vision who is always looking to jump in on the rush. He possesses an accurate hard shot which he has the tendency to keep low and on net. At only 18 years of age, I love that Mueller in 6’4. He’s only 185 pounds so he will need to bulk up to play at the pro level. This is a common problem among 18 year old’s who have yet to fill out. This will only come with time.

 

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Defensively is where I’m most excited about Mueller. He has outstanding positioning and great hockey IQ. He’s a fearless shot blocker who will sacrifice his body at all costs. He can diagnose and read a play as well as any draft eligible defender in this draft.  He loves to keep oncoming forwards to the outside and from what I noticed about Mueller, he works hard along the boards and in front of the crease. However, I wish he would use his 6’4 frame more to his advantage.  Once he bulks up and adds muscle this side to his game should come.

 

Some have compared him to his teammate Ryan Murray in Everett. Others have compared him to his fellow countrymen and current Anaheim Duck Luca Sbisa. Mueller has the potential to be a top four defender in the NHL who can play big minutes on the penalty kill and possibly see powerplay action on a team’s second unit.

As I said earlier, I expect Mueller to be a first round selection come June. However, given the rise of defenseman Shea Theodore, Samuel Morin and Nikita Zadorov Mueller may slip into the second round. So where could he possibly end up?  In my initial mock draft I had Mueller going to the Buffalo Sabres at 16th overall.

Jared Abbott had Mueller going to the Red Wings at 18th overall. I see Mueller going anywhere from 16-30 with the possibility of slipping into the second for the reason I stated above. He will be around when the Flyers select at 11, but I believe he would be an absolute reach at this position for Philadelphia. There will be more polished defenders than Mueller available at 11 if the Flyers chose to go the defensive route with their first selection. Mueller will be best served to go to a team where he can sit and develop in the minors for three-four years. Any team looking to get an immediate impact player who can play the NHL next season should not choose Mueller. That’s not a knock on him as a player. He just needs some more time to season and bulk up.