Player: Mirco Mueller
Drafted By: San Jose Sharks (18th overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 9 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'3'', 184 lbs
DOB: March 21, 1995 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: WHL, Everett Silvertips
In the 2011-12 season, Mirco Mueller made his professional hockey debut, skating in seven games in the Swiss Elite League and scoring his first pro goal—an impressive feat for a 16-year-old. He was impressive enough with the Kloten Flyers U20 team that year that the Everett Silvertips made him the 11th overall selection in the CHL Import Draft.
Mueller had a strong first season playing the North American style of hockey, putting up 31 points in 63 games in 2013. He also finished a minus-10 on the year, which isn't all that bad considering the Silvertips were one of the worst teams in the WHL this season.
Outside of his WHL play, Mueller also represented Switzerland in the U18 and U20 World Junior Championship tournaments. At the U18 tourney, Mueller scored a goal and recorded two assists through five games of action. Through six games at the U20 tourney, Mueller posted two assists while securing an impressive plus-seven rating.
Full Scouting Report
While Mueller didn't arrive on the scene with the Silvertips to be their top defenseman, that responsibility quickly fell to him after former second overall draft pick Ryan Murray suffered a season-ending injury just 23 games into the season.
He impressed with the increased workload, showing off his outstanding hockey sense and ability to skate the puck out of dangerous areas. Scouts seem to love the fact that his game showed such an upward trend after arriving in North America; often times it can take Europeans several weeks to adjust to the smaller surfaces and increased physicality.
Mueller was up to the task though, and never shied away from the contact of the WHL. He's just as impressive on the defensive side of the puck and is an excellent shot-blocker due to outstanding positioning and patience. Even when he isn't producing offensively, Mueller is still a great player who impacts the game with his defensive smarts and skating.
NHL Player Comparison
Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Mueller reminders us of a less highly touted Hedman. While he's not nearly as big, he plays the game in a similar fashion.
The NHL height is there, but Mueller (like many teenagers) needs to add more muscle before effectively starting in the NHL. The 2014-15 season is a reasonable expectation for the defenseman.
Mueller has shown an ability to be an effective all-situations defender with Everett. He has the skill set needed to develop into a smooth-skating top-four defenseman at the NHL level.