Do you spend your nights tossing and turning wondering ‘what ever happened to Peter Mueller?’ Do you space out when your boss is talking to you because you suddenly realize that you haven’t heard from Jack Skille in a while? If the answer is yes, then you my friend are in luck.
Because precisely zero people demanded it, here is a new series where we give an update on some of our favorite Florida Panthers from last year. Today we will be looking at Peter Mueller, one-third of last year’s kid-line and owner of this delicious swath of hair.
The Panthers signed Peter Mueller to a one-year $1.75 million during the offseason leading up to the 2012-13 season. At the time of the signing, Mueller was a former top-10 draft pick and 20-goal scorer in Phoenix who’s career had been derailed by concussion troubles. He was a prototypical low-risk, high-reward signing.
Mueller had a middling season with the Panthers scoring eight goals and nine assists in 43 games. Mueller made some waves playing on the short-lived but intensely-loved (by this one blogger at least) ‘Kid Line’ alongside Drew Shore and Jonathan Huberdeau. His production trailed off as the season progressed and in the final 23 games, he only scored two goals and six assists.
Where is he now?
The big success of Mueller’s season with the Panthers was that he proved that he had put his concussion problems in the rear view mirror. Despite this display of health, he was unable to get an offer with an NHL team as a UFA during the off-season. (Or at least he did not find an offer that he liked).
Mueller instead signed with the Kloten Flyers of Switzerland. Through 33 games this season he has scored 15 goals and 10 assists. More importantly here is his uber-stylish picture from the Flyers team website.
At 25, it is not very far-fetched to assume that he will get another shot in the NHL sometime in the near future. Lower-tier players are often forced to play overseas for a year or two. I think Jesse Winchester‘s path is the perfect comparable to Mueller’s. Winchester was forced, by concussions and a lack of any good offers, to spend last year’s lockout shortened season playing overseas in Finland.
Winchester’s path back into the league was not easy as he had to accept a one-year, two-way contract from the Panthers that pays $600,000 at the NHL level but only $125,000 in the AHL. At the time of the signing, most would have projected that Winch would be playing in the minors but instead he worked his way into the Panthers lineup during training camp and has since stuck.
Mueller will probably have to follow a similar path back to the league. No one is going to give him a multi-year, one-way deal but NHL GM’s are a savvy bunch (I guess thats debatable) and you can be sure that Mueller is not entirely off the NHL radar.
What do you think about Mueller? Did you enjoy his time with Florida? Did you want the Panthers to re-sign him? Do you think he has an NHL future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and follow The Rat Trick on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest.