BRIGHTON -- Peter Mueller says he’s matured a bit playing the last three years in Europe, and is just happy to be back in North America with a PTO in hand to try out for a winger spot on the Boston Bruins. The former eighth overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft has had a bit a rocky road since a couple of pretty good seasons to start out his NHL career with the Coyotes, but found himself unable to secure NHL work following the lockout season with Florida in 2012-13.
“This has been going on since Jan. 1, but to be honest I was always checking the scores and the box scores to see what was going on in North America,” said the Minnesota-born Mueller, who had 22 goals and 54 points in his rookie season with the Coyotes back in 2007-08. “I was always following up with the guys, and I was very focused on making a push back [to the NHL] this year. I was very fortunate that Boston reached out with a PTO, and I gladly accepted. It’s a good chance for me to prove my worth.”
The 28-year-old Mueller played the last three seasons in European leagues in Switzerland and Sweden, and posted a pretty decent 13 goals and 25 points in 43 games for Malmo last season. But he also perhaps burned some NHL bridges in 2014 when he turned down an offer from the St. Louis Blues to place him in the AHL once he didn’t make the NHL club following a similar PTO situation. Instead Mueller returned to Switzerland once he was put on waivers by the Blues, and played one season apiece in Kloten and Malmo.
Mueller said he hadn’t had many NHL offers since that situation unfolded with St. Louis, and that he was grateful the Black and Gold would give him another shot.
“I’m assuming that things happen, and people already consider me a ‘Europe player’ since I’ve been over there for three years,” said Mueller, who said he hasn’t experienced any concussion issues in the last five years since his days with the Colorado Avalanche. “[St. Louis] was a good experience, but at the end of the day it didn’t work out in my favor. I could be a little immature and a little bit on my behalf not committing to the organization, which was tough for me. A lot of things happened when that happened.
“Three years have gone past, and I’ve matured a lot more. I’ve got a family now, and it’s amazing what a child will do to your life and how committed you are. So it was a tough situation for me at that point in time, but it’s all behind me. I’m hoping to prove to everybody in North America that this is no joke, and it’s for real this time.”
Mueller admitted he would have done things a little differently if he’d had a chance to re-do the situation with the Blues a couple of years ago. The 6-foot-2, 204-pounder also said he could play either wing position in addition to center, and clearly he’ll be a veteran option for a top-9 wing spot with youngsters like Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk also in the mix entering main training camp on Thursday.
The veteran forward was saying all the right things after skating with the Bruins at captain’s practice over the last couple of weeks, and starting Thursday Mueller gets to show it on the ice as the Bruins hold an all-out competition for a couple of NHL roster spots perhaps up for grabs.