There has been a lot of talk recently that the Devils would be an active team going into the Draft in terms of making deals. They made the first of those such trades today when they dealt their second round 2017 pick (49th overall – which they had acquired from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Lee Stempniak two seasons ago) and their fourth round 2017 pick (123rd overall – acquired from the Nashville Predators last season for Vern Fiddler) to San Jose.
In exchange, the Devils receive the Sharks’ fifth round pick in this year’s Entry Draft (143rd overall) and defenseman Mirco Mueller. The Devils will retain their own second and fourth round picks.
Mueller is a 22-year-old, 6-foot, 3-inch 210-pound blueliner from Winterthur, Switzerland. According to the Devils’ press release on their official site, he was taken 18th overall in the first round in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Sharks and has spent the last three seasons between the Worcester Sharks/San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League (the franchise moved to the west coast prior to last season) and the San Jose Sharks. He has a total of 54 NHL games played and has two goals and four assists (six points) to go with 17 penalty minutes in his Sharks career. The Devils press release says that he made his NHL debut on October 8, 2014 at Los Angeles.
Mueller represented Switzerland at the World Junior Championship in 2014 and 2015. He had a goal and an a assist and 14 penalty minutes in five games in 2014 and an assist and a minus-1 rating to go with six penalty minutes in six games in 2015. He played two years with the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips.
His scouting report from HockeysFuture.com reads that he “is a big two-way defenseman” who “skates well, but [that] will be a point of improvement going forward.” They continue that “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.”
They also say that while his “offensive play is limited” and “he is a work in progress in terms of puck skills and shooting/passing” he does have “a good first pass that can jump-start the transition game.” They did also mention that “his calling card to this point is his defensive reliability.”
Now, all of that sounds good and is something the Devils can use, but he has also not gotten much ice time at the NHL level due to the Sharks’ logjam at that position, so we will see what he gets to do once he has the opportunity.
The Devils and General Manager Ray Shero should have some more wheeling and dealing to do leading up to the expansion draft and the Entry Draft, both occurring next week.