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With next to nothing happening in the hockey world, I've decided to take the plunge and write daily profiles for members of the New Jersey Devils.
I'll be commenting on the year each player just had as well as their projected role and expectations for 2019-20. I've written 10 thus far, with Pavel Zacha being the most recent player profiled
Today we're going with Mirco Mueller.
53 games played, 11 points (one goal, 10 assists), 18:04 average time on ice
.64 points/60, +0.93 CF% Rel, -0.75 GF% Rel, +1.80 xGF% Rel, 0.985 PDO
He was a mixed bag last season. On one hand, he continued to be a black hole offensively and was not able to take any sort of step forward as a 23-year-old. Any hopes he can become more than a depth defender have probably been dashed, which is disappointing considering the draft capital it took to acquire him.
On the other hand, Mueller was mostly solid defensively on a team that was anything but stable. Among regulars, he ranked 1st or 2nd in almost every key defensive metric at 5v5. Will Butcher was the lone man ahead of him in most, and Butcher started a significantly larger percentage of his shifts in the offensive zone.
Mueller might not have been able to do anything with the puck on his stick. He was pretty good at ensuring that was the case for his opponents, though.
161 defensemen logged at least 800 minutes of ice at 5v5. Trevor van Riemsdyk was the only one given the gate fewer times than Mirco Mueller, who took just two minors.
Using the same criteria (800+ minutes), Mueller ranked 159th among defenders in expected goals/60. Chris Tanev and Niklas Hjalmarsson were the two to finish below Mueller.
P.K. Subban, Damon Severson, Sami Vatanen, Will Butcher and Andy Greene are locks to play every night. That leaves one lineup spot for Ty Smith, Connor Carrick, and Mueller to fight for. I would bet on the former claiming it, but if he's not ready Mueller could very well lock down the No. 6 slot – at least to start – with a strong camp. If not, I think he'll be a rotational piece who dresses when John Hynes wants to shake things up or feels he needs a little more size/defensive stability against a certain opponent. Either way, I don't imagine he's going to be a key part of this year's Devils team.
numbers via naturalstattrick.com and hockey-reference.com
Top-5 wingers 22 & under?
Top-5 centers 22 & under?
top-5 defensemen in the Eastern Conference?
top-5 wingers in the Eastern Conference?
On Will Butcher's three-year extension
On the Nikita Gusev trade
Pavel Zacha will play an important role in 2019-20
Wayne Simmonds' poor 2018-19 campaign was not a one-off