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Features

Panthers Expect Healthy Mueller To Perform

Friday, 08.24.2012 / 9:30 AM / Features
By Mike Battaglino  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Panthers Expect Healthy Mueller To Perform
Concussions have derailed the once promising career of the 24-year-old first-round pick by Phoenix in 2006, but Florida GM Dale Tallon is banking on him staying healthy and producing.
Forward Peter Mueller signed a one year contract with the Panthers. (Getty Images)

The line stands out among Peter Mueller's statistics -- 20 points in 15 games during the 2009-10 season.

The Florida Panthers signed the 24-year-old Mueller to a one-year contract as a free agent this offseason with those numbers -- and their need for any kind of offense -- certainly in mind.

"He understands this is a great opportunity for him," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said after the July 12 signing. "He's a top-six forward. He has size and skill, and he's still young. It's well worth the risk for us to sign him to a one-year deal and hope he gets back to what he was before he was injured."

Mueller put up those gaudy figures above after the Avalanche acquired him from the Phoenix Coyotes in a deadline trade. At 21 years old, he seemed to be realizing the potential that was forecast for him as the No. 8 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft and reinforced his rookie season.

But he suffered a concussion on April 4, 2010, and missed the final four games plus a six-game playoff series. That didn't keep the Avalanche from signing him to a two-year contract, but another concussion in a preseason game cost Mueller all of 2010-11.

After a three-game attempt to open last season, he came back for good on Jan. 12. He went 654 days between NHL points.

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"Every time I talk to doctors since I got cleared last time in January, everything is good," Mueller said on his first day with the Panthers. "The doctors are behind me 100 percent. Nothing is really a red flag. Everything is good to go. I've been working out ever since I got cleared. Things have been getting better each and every day. To be honest, I haven't felt this good since coming into the League my first year."

Mueller had 16 points in his final 26 games for the Avalanche. But the Panthers, whose scoring depth drops precipitously when forwards Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann leave the ice, are pining for more -- a lot more.

"I hope to get him back to what he was his rookie year," Tallon said. "He seems to be revitalized, and we did our due diligence. ...

"We brought him in here and checked him out from toes to nose, and everything checked out fine," Tallon added. "... He's still young and has a lot of good years ahead of him, so if he does well and plays well he's got a great opportunity to stay here for a long time and fit in with our development plan."

Mueller debuted with the Coyotes as a 19-year-old, scoring 54 points in 81 games. He hasn't played that many games in a season since then.

If Mueller can contribute full-time, likely playing alongside heralded rookie Jonathan Huberdeau, the Panthers will be much better poised to defend their Southeast Division title and return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1996-97.

"I'm just looking for a fresh start -- obviously it's no secret with my past," Mueller said. "As I spoke to Dale, he's basically told me what he's expecting out of me and I'm expecting a lot personally from myself. I'm coming in here with a great attitude and just ready to rock and roll this coming season."

Author: Mike Battaglino | NHL.com Staff Writer

UPCOMING EVENTS

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 PIT 32 22 6 4 102 72 48
2 NYI 33 23 10 0 104 91 46
3 MTL 34 21 11 2 92 83 44
4 TBL 35 20 11 4 113 93 44
5 DET 33 17 8 8 93 82 42
6 TOR 33 19 11 3 114 98 41
7 WSH 32 16 10 6 95 85 38
8 NYR 30 16 10 4 92 81 36
9 FLA 31 14 9 8 69 79 36
10 BOS 33 16 14 3 82 85 35
11 OTT 33 14 13 6 89 92 34
12 CBJ 32 14 15 3 79 102 31
13 PHI 32 12 14 6 88 96 30
14 NJD 35 12 17 6 77 102 30
15 BUF 33 13 18 2 63 105 28
16 CAR 32 9 19 4 68 91 22

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 31 12 7 0 19
A. Ekblad 31 5 14 4 19
J. Jokinen 30 3 13 -2 16
B. Boyes 30 5 9 0 14
J. Hayes 23 7 6 2 13
J. Huberdeau 28 3 10 0 13
V. Trocheck 20 3 9 2 12
S. Bergenheim 21 5 4 2 9
S. Upshall 20 4 5 1 9
T. Fleischmann 29 3 5 6 8
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Montoya 2 2 2 .915 2.27
R. Luongo 12 7 6 .926 2.28
 
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