2013 Draft Prospect Profile #12: Mirco Mueller

Mirco Mueller - www.whl.ca

Swiss defender Mirco Mueller is the next player to be profiled in our lead-up to the draft.

Mirco Mueller

Position: Defense
Team: Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Age: 18
Date of Birth: March 21, 1995
Place of Birth: Winterthur, Switzerland
Ht: 6'4" Wt: 185 lbs
Shoots: Left

2012-2013 Regular Season Stats:

GP G A PTS +/- PIM
63
6
25
31 -10
57

2012-2013 Playoff Stats:

GP G A PTS +/- PIM
6
0
1
1
+3
6

You can use one adjective to describe Mueller- steady. He's often compared to his former defense partner- Columbus prospect Ryan Murray, last year's second-overall pick. Prior to Murray suffering a season-ending injury, the duo were relied upon by the Silvertips to shut down the opposition's top players, kicking in occasional offense as well. After the injury to Murray, Mueller went on to have a solid season in Everett, who are in the midst of a rebuild.

He reminds me of former Jacket John Moore- steady, smart, but not flashy. He would do well paired with a more offensive-minded defense partner, providing cover in offensive situations. He'd be equally adept in a pure shutdown role as well. The team that drafts him will get a very safe, versatile defenseman.

Yahoo junior hockey blog Buzzing the Net has an interview with Mueller here.

Scouting Reports:

Mueller had a quality season in his draft year after coming to the WHL from Switzerland. He took on more responsibility for the Silvertips in light of Columbus draftee Ryan Murray's significant injury. He was also impressive as a 17-year-old defenseman at the World Juniors. The most impressive aspect of his game is his hockey sense. He is a top-end thinker with and without the puck. He slows down the game on breakouts, making good decisions with the puck. He also makes a lot of defensive stops due to his good positioning and reads. He displays above-average mobility, both closing gaps well and rushing the puck up ice with solid speed. Mueller has fine size, with a sense of quality physicality about his game. He has only average overall puck skills, and he projects as a second unit power play defenseman. He will deliver very good value to his team from his work in his own zone.

- Hockey Prospectus
...plays the game of a puckmoving defenseman .. brings a nice combination of size and mobility – and still has plenty of room to strengthen his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame – in order to better handle the rougher North American game .. plays a calm and poised game .. always has his head up in order to keep track of where opponents and teammates are on the ice .. proficient at making a good first pass .. known for his on-ice leadership – and named captain of the Swiss under-18 team .. tends to overplay situations at times and will try and do too much in his own zone .. can be prone to giveaways, especially when under heavier pressure, as he will hold the puck longer in search of free space – instead of playing a pass to a mate .. made his National League A debut last season with the Kloten Flyers at the age of 16 – appearing in a total of seven games .. named to the 2013 U20 WJC-team of Switzerland – making his debut at the tournament.

- McKeen's Hockey

Why he'd be a good fit in Columbus:

The defense pipeline is well-stocked in Columbus, but you can never have too much of a good thing. Mueller has instant chemistry with Murray, and the two would provide long-term stability on the back end.

Mueller will be one of the top defenders chosen later this month, and if he's there when the Jackets' first pick comes along, he would be a great choice, even with the team's need for help up front. With David Savard looking less and less like an impact player, and with John Moore in Manhattan, the Jackets could use another big chip on defense.

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