The St. Louis Blues made a low-risk move on Tuesday; one with the potential to pay off in a big way. The team announced that they had signed forward Peter Mueller to a one-year, two-way contract. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 26-year-old Mueller spent last season with Kloten of the Swiss National League, scoring 24 goals and 46 points in 49 games. He also represented the United States at the World Championships, netting four points in eight games.
Selected eighth overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Mueller’s career was derailed while with the Colorado Avalanche, when post-concussion syndrome caused him to miss the entire 2010-2011 season and half of the subsequent year. He last saw NHL action for the Florida Panthers in 2012-2013, scoring 17 points in 43 games. In 297 career NHL games , Mueller has 63 goals and 160 points.
Mueller figures to get a shot to replace departed forward Vladimir Sobotka in the Blues’ lineup. The 27-year-old Sobotka was the best faceoff man in the NHL last season. He was awarded a one-year $2.725 million contract in arbitration on July 21; however, he had signed a three-year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL two weeks prior, and plans to play there next season. The Blues do retain his rights however, and can suspend his contract until he returns to the NHL.
“We are looking forward to having Vladimir in a Blues uniform when he returns to the NHL,” said Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. “We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season.”
Mueller will not be the only player joining the Blues from overseas, as they also added both Jori Lehtera and Joakim Lindstrom this summer.
Selected by the Blues in the third round (65th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Lehtera will be making his second journey to play in North America in the upcoming season; having spent a brief stint with the Blues’ AHL affiliate in 2009. The 26-year-old center scored 44 points in 48 games last season for Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL. He was even more impressive representing his native Finland internationally; scoring four points in six Olympic games en route to a bronze medal, and netting 12 points in 10 World Championship games en route to a silver.
Selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round (41st overall), Lindstrom will be making the trip across the pond again for his third NHL stint. Last season, the 30-year-old winger finished second in SHL scoring, with 63 points in 53 games for Skellefteå. An alternate captain, he added 18 points in 14 playoff contests, helping Skellefteå capture back-to-back SHL Championships. In 97 career NHL contests with the Blue Jackets, Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche; Lindstrom has 33 points.
In addition to Lindstrom, Mueller will be reunited with another former Avalanche teammate in St. Louis. The Blues made the first big splash into the free agent pool on July 1, signing center Paul Stastny to a four-year contract worth $28 million.