Mirco Mueller
Image: WHL

Mirco Mueller

Hometown:

Winterthur Switzerland

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1995-03-21

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2013

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2013

Height:

6-3

Acquired:

1st round (18th overall), 2013

Weight:

187 lbs.

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History

2010-11: Mirco Mueller moved from his home club of Wintherthur to Kloten in the top division of Swiss junior hockey. He appeared in one game in the Elite Jr A U20 league with no points nor penalty minutes. In 32 games for Kloten’s U17 team he scored 12 goals with 19 assists and had 14 penalty minutes. Mueller represented Switzerland in the 2011 Europe Youth Olympic Festival.

2011-12: Mueller appeared in the Swiss Elite League as a 16-year-old, skating in seven games and scoring his first professional goal with Kloten. In 30 games for Kloten’s U20 team (including four playoff games) he scored 4 goals with 5 assists and had 10 penalty minutes. Mueller was selected by Everett (WHL) in the first round (11th overall) of the 2012 CHL Import Draft.

2012-13: Mueller played in 63 WHL games for Everett in his first season in North America and skated for Switzerland in the 2013 U18 and U20 World Junior Championship tournaments. He scored 6 goals with 25 assists and was minus-10 with 57 penalty minutes for the Silvertips. Everett made the playoffs despite finishing last in the U.S. Division with the WHL’s fourth-worst record. Mueller was plus-three with 1 assist and 6 penalty minutes in six playoff games. At the U20 tournament he had 2 assists and was plus-seven with 6 penalty minutes in six games for Switzerland. In five games at the U18 tournament he had 1goal with 2 assists and was minus-one with 2 penalty minutes. Mueller was ranked ninth amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by San Jose in the first round (18th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft.

2013-14: Mueller signed a three-year entry-level contract with San Jose in September before returning to Everett for his second season with the Silvertips. He made his pro hockey debut with Sharks’ AHL affiliate Worcester following his junior season and played for the Switzerland U20 team in his second World Juniors tournament. Mueller had 2 assists and was -5 with 2 penalty minutes in nine AHL games for Worcester. He scored 5 goals with 22 assists and was +1 with 31 penalty minutes in 60 regular season games for Everett. The Silvertips finished third in the U.S. Division, falling to Seattle in a first-round playoff series. Mueller scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was -1 with 4 penalty minutes in five playoff games. He scored 1 goal with 1 assist and had an even plus/minus in five games for Switzerland at the 2014 WJC.  Switzerland finished seventh, falling 4-1 to Canada in the quarterfinals.  

2014-15: Mueller made the jump directly from the WHL to the NHL — skating in 39 games for the Sharks in an injury-filled rookie season — and was an assistant captain for Switzerland at the 2015 World Junior Championship. He scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was -8 with 10 penalty minutes, averaging 17 minutes of ice time. A healthy scratch at times during the year, Mueller missed time with an undisclosed injury in January and suffered a season-ending hand injury at the end of March. He played three games with the AHL’s Worcester Sharks, scoring 1 goal and finishing -2 with 4 penalty minutes. Mueller was -1 with 1 assist and 6 penalty minutes in six games for Switzerland at the 2015 WJC. Switzerland finished ninth, sweeping the best-of three relegation series with Germany to remain in the top division for 2015-16.

Talent Analysis

Mirco Mueller is a big two-way defenseman with the potential to be the cornerstone of the San Jose Sharks blue line for years to come. He skates well, but it will be a point of improvement going forward. He plays a technically sound game and is rarely caught out of position. He brings with him a shot blocking prowess, and an ability to effectively use his size to clear the crease. Mueller's offensive play is limited he is a work in progress in terms of puck skills and shooting/passing, but he has a good first pass that can jump-start the transition game. His calling card to this point is his defensive reliability.

Future

Mueller will look to see consistent ice time in his second season with the Sharks in 2015-16 and should benefit from the presence of veterans Marc-Edouard Vlasic and recently-acquired Paul Martin in the San Jose lineup. With the coaching change after last season it will be interesting to see the approach the organization takes with the 20-year-old, whose long-term development might be better served playing a larger role at the AHL level. Long-term Mueller projects as an effective, shutdown top-four defenseman capable of playing in all situations and logging significant minutes.

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