According to multiple, credible (read: not Eklund) sources, the Florida Panthers have signed former first round talent Peter Mueller to a one year, 1.75 million dollar contract.
The story behind Mueller is a little longer than you'd like for a player who only turned 24 a few months ago. Mueller was rumored to have locker room issues with the Coyotes and was traded to the Colorado Avalanche after 2.5 seasons for Wojtek Wolski and Kevin Porter at the 2010 deadline. In the 15 games afterwards, Mueller would explode with 9G/11A and help push the Avs to the playoffs. However, a major concussion on the eve of the playoffs and again in preseason would force Muels to sit out the 2010-11 season. After making his eagerly awaited return to the ice last season, Mueller would again miss time to a concussion sustained mid-season. His hands are soft as butter but his head is no stronger than an eggshell, and the risk presented in resigning him was too great for the Avs who chose not to send him a qualifying offer.
More about Mueller and videos after the jumpIf last seasons 'take an unhealthy Avalanche instant fan favorite and sign him' move is any indication, Florida might have themselves another 20+ goal scorer. In a whole lot of ways this move is a carbon copy of the Tomas Fleischmann signing; a player with undiscovered potential is traded to the Avs, explodes offensively, gets injured after a handful of games and bears the black spot until Florida takes the chance on him. At least, that's how we hope the latest chapter in this strange story will read. Mueller is a highly skilled player and -- when healthy -- can bring first line speed and scoring to a team in need. This is a perfect example of a low risk, high reward signing. The cap hit is no worry and the one year contract length ensures Tallon can escape if Mueller can't keep his head unscrambled.
Last season Mueller sunk 7G/9A through 32 games and has 55G/88A in 254 career games. At just 24, Mueller could be a Panther for a long time if things go well this season. As a natural center, Mueller will likely take the second line center position with Marcel Goc sliding down to the third line.
If you don't follow the Western Conference all that much but recognize the name, there's a reason why: Mueller finally scored his first two goals since returning to the lineup in a game against the Panthers on January 18th 2012 in a wild 4-3 overtime loss:
More Mueller highlights (the music is horrid; you've been warned):
And a little intro to Muels. Boy that goal on Theodore sure gets a lot of mileage.