Mirco Mueller: 2013 NHL Draft Player Profile #31

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Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2013 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical draft profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2013 Draft Articles Click here.

TopShelfProspectsDrafted 18th Overall by the San Jose Sharks.

Mirco Mueller (Müller), was the 11th overall pick by the Everett Silvertips in last summer’s CHL import draft.  The Swiss defenceman came over this year expecting to be a nice compliment to Silvertips’ star Ryan Murray, last year’s second overall pick.  However, an early season shoulder injury limited Murray to just 23 games.  In his absence Mueller really stepped up his game, becoming a key contributor for the Silvertips in all situations, and rocketing up draft boards.

Mueller added to this with a very impressive performance at the 2013 World Junior Championships.  The underaged defenceman was one of the best players on a surprising Swiss team which finished 6th in the tourney.  He also gained international experience at the 2013 IIHF Under 18 World Championships and had another strong performance.

Defense
Born Mar 21 1995 — Winterthur, Switzerland
Height 6.04 — Weight 185 — Shoots Left

Mueller is a smooth skating, mobile defenceman, whose game is based on this ability.   His lateral agility is very good, especially given his size.  His crossovers, pivots, and edgework are also very solid, giving him the ability to cover a lot of ice defensively, or to walk the line and open up passing and shooting lanes offensively.  His first step quickness and acceleration are also very good but he could use some work on his top end speed, as it is merely average.

Mueller has shown good offensive ability this season.  He keeps his head up and makes a good first pass most of the time.  He also shows solid vision and playmaking skill from the point on the powerplay.  Mueller has a hard shot which he keeps low and on net.  He has good stickhandling ability and combined with his good skating he is able to both lead the rush and join it as a trailer.

At 6’04” Mueller has great size.   However at just 185 lbs, he has plenty of work to do in filling out his frame.  He will need to add a lot of muscle over the next couple years in order to stand up to the rigors of pro hockey.  However this is a common problem for many 18 year olds and shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

Defensively Mueller shows good positioning and high hockey IQ.  He diagnoses the play well, maintains good gap control, and keeps his man to the outside.  He is not afraid to block shots, and he cuts down passing lanes well.  He gets involved in board battles and works hard to clear the crease.  However he could stand to use his size more effectively and this can come with the added muscle mass I talked about above.

Stylistically Mueller looks a lot like Victor Hedman.  However this is a stylistic comparison and not one based on potential.  In terms of potential Mueller can be a solid top 4 defenceman who can play big penalty kill minutes and contribute on the 2nd powerplay unit for an NHL team if he reaches his ceiling.

Thanks for Reading, and check back tomorrow where we will reveal the number 32 prospect for this June’s NHL Draft.

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