The Edmonton Oilers have center issues. This isn’t new, in fact it’s been an issue since last season. Edmonton added Leon Draisaitl via the draft, but didn’t do anything else in regards to center ice. Did they look? Absolutely, they checked in with Olli Jokinen and Mike Ribeiro, but nothing came of it.
The game plan became a risky one. Let RNH and Gordon hold down two spots, and allow Draisaitl, Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander to fight for the other two roles. Two weeks into training camp, and that plan isn’t exactly looking too hot.
RNH and Gordon have looked as good as we expected, but the other three have not. Draisaitl looked good in rookie camp and the first pre-season game against Calgary, but since has looked a little overwhelmed out there. The offense isn’t coming, and he is clearly learning on the job with his two way game, he looks like a rookie. Arcobello has been decent defensively, but has provided no offense, while Lander has been invisible to this point.
If Edmonton has an outside option, now would be the time to go to it.
Peter Mueller is a guy we have looked at before, and he is a player who provides things that Edmonton is looking for. The Oilers want size, and Mueller has size. He stands in at 6’2” and 204 pounds, which is pretty good compared to the rest of the roster and the guys he would be going up against in the difficult Western Conference.
The issue here is injury. Mueller has missed a lot of time, including massive chunks of the 2008-09 season, the 2009-10 season, and 2011-12 season. In addition to that, Mueller also missed the entire 2010-11 season. The main injury? Concussions, and that can be a major problem moving forward.
He played in 43 games back in 2012-13 with Florida, and last year played in Europe, getting a look in the Swiss-A league. This summer he returned to North America, and got a one-year deal with the St. Louis Blues. He was waived on Wednesday afternoon, and every team will have a chance to put a claim in. Edmonton sits third on that list thanks to their finish last year.
Mueller has posted some good possession numbers throughout his pro career. In 2012-13 with Florida, a team that finished last, Mueller posted a solid 52.6% Corsi For, while he posted a solid 50.4% mark in 2011-12 for a Colorado team that missed the playoffs. Those aren’t elite numbers, but they are pretty good, and indicate a player capable of playing with the puck at the NHL level. Edmonton needs those guys.
Offensively Mueller has been challenged since he suffered his injuries. He posted 17 points in 43 games with the Panthers in 2012-13, and posted 16 points in 32 contests in 2011-12 with the Av’s. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but they are far from the level Mueller showed early in his career.
He posted 54 points in 81 games back during his rookie season in 2007-08 for the Coyotes, and posted another 36 in 2008-09. Since then however, he’s stayed further down in terms of offensive production. He isn’t a black-hole offensively, but he isn’t a guy that you will look for to post 50 points in a season anymore.
Edmonton is weak down the middle on their NHL roster, this isn’t anything new. Peter Mueller provides some solid things, including size. Mueller has been a solid possession player in the NHL throughout his career, and while he isn’t an offensive dynamo, he has proven that he isn’t a black-hole, and that he could be a secondary offensive player on the right team.
Edmonton is looking for a second or third line center, and Peter Muller may be that guy for Edmonton. He’s not going to be a long-term solution, and probably won’t make or break the team this year, but Peter Mueller would help the Oilers and improve them down the middle. At this point, I don’t think you could ask for much more.
If I’m Craig MacTavish, I’m putting in a waiver claim for Peter Mueller.[adsanity id=1808 align=alignnone /]