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2010 NHL Free Agency: Colorado signs Peter Mueller to two-year, $4M deal

Peter Mueller

FILE - This March 9, 2010, file photo shows Colorado Avalanche center Peter Mueller warming up before facing the Vancouver Canucks in an NHL hockey game in Denver. A concussion is expected to keep Colorado Avalanche newcomer Peter Mueller sidelined for the final week of the regular season. Mueller, who has a team-best nine goals since the Avs acquired him in a trade with Phoenix on March 3, was injured in Colorado’s 5-4 win over San Jose in overtime Sunday night, April 4, 2010. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)


Peter Mueller looked like a totally different player - more specifically, the kind of player who is a top 10 draft pick - once he was traded from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Colorado Avalanche. He scored more points in 15 games in Colorado (20) than he produced in 54 contests as a Coyote (17). Much like Lee Stempniak in Phoenix, it’s natural to wonder if he could actually maintain that point per game pace, but the Avalanche might be wise to see if he can pull it off.

The Avalanche and Mueller finally came to terms on a new contract today as TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that he signed a two-year deal that will earn him $1.5 million in 2010-11 and $2.5 million in 2011-12. In other words, it is a two-year deal worth $4 million overall that will make for a $2 million cap hit per year.

Mueller scored 37 and 36 points in the last two seasons after posting his career high (54 points) as a rookie in 2007-08. You have to wonder if some of his issues rest in between his ears since he clearly flourished outside of the defensive-minded confines of the Coyotes system.

In many other summers, I think “flash in the pan” guys like Mueller, Wojtek Wolski and Stempniak would garner more attention, even if they are restricted free agents. A slow market means that potentially dynamic players like Mueller actually need to prove they can produce big numbers for more than just a small window of time. Overall, the Avalanche could be real winners with this deal as the big, versatile forward could exceed his contract if he even approaches his late 09-10 levels.