The steady and reliable Swiss defenceman of the Everett Silvertips, Mirco Mueller, is next in our countdown.
Stats: Everett Silvertips (WHL) | 63 GP | 6 G | 25 A | 31 P | -10 | 57 PIM
Who is Mirco Mueller?
Mueller joined the Silvertips this season after becoming a fixture on international teams in his native Switzerland. He played in several tournaments this season, including the world juniors in Russia in December and January and the under-18 world championships in April. Mueller was second in rookie scoring amongst WHL defencemen this year, finishing behind only Seth Jones.
Mirco Mueller’s scouting report:
Mueller is a strong skater who can play well at both ends of the ice. He can find the open man with a nice outlet pass and will pick his spots when to join the rush. His defensive play is stout, using his body more for positioning and an active stick rather than pasting his man along the boards. As he displayed this season, he’s comfortable playing in all situations. Mueller isn’t a flashy player, but gets the job done. At six-foot-three and a slight 176 pounds, his next biggest challenge is adding weight to his wiry frame.
Teams who might be interested in Mirco Mueller:
The Detroit Red Wings have built such a solid base of prospects over the years. They’ve done well in making value picks with prospects who tend to fall a little further in the draft than most pundits would predict. Mueller could figure into that category on draft day. The Red Wings have a good nucleus of young defencemen coming up through the ranks, but there’s no harm in adding another that is considered a safe bet to play.
Scout’s take: “He’s all projection at this point,” says David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “He’s got to fill out. He’s a player that NHL scouts just salivate over because he’s got all the fundamentals that you need in a player. He’s incredibly smart, he’s got good leadership abilities, he can also handle the puck and make plays. He stepped up in the absence of Ryan Murray in Everett this year and logged a ton of minutes. The one knock on him is that he’s got to physically mature a little bit more. He’s got to play a little more assertive – sometimes he can let guys go by him. He has to close his gap a little bit but he’s a player who projects well as a two-way defenceman at the NHL level. NHL scouts really like his potential at the next level.”
“A big, mobile defender with good puck skills,” adds Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. “Mueller has developed really well since making the move from Switzerland to the WHL. He changes directions very quickly and can skate with just about any opponent. He can stand out from time to time with his ability to win space with the puck and the quickness in which he can take a puck into an open lane. His offensive potential should not be considered high-end, but he makes good decisions with the puck and is a good transitional player with very projectable skills and size. He has an absolute ton of room left to build on his frame and would be best served to get stronger and learn how to be a bit meaner at the next level.”
Rankings: Mueller was ranked ninth by the NHL’s Central Scouting (North American skaters), 17th by McKeen’s Hockey and 35th by International Scouting Services.