There have been many changes this season with the Phoenix Coyotes but one constant is Peter Mueller. Drafted three years ago, Mueller is anxious to redeem himself after a poor season, in which he saw his production drop by 18 points. A coaching change and a new set of linemates should inject some much-needed energy into the 21-year-old winger, as his resurgence will be a big part of the Coyotes success.
McKeen's Director of Scouting David Burstyn, had a chance to sit down with Peter Mueller and talk about his expectations this season and the new faces behind the bench. Burstyn also adds his latest scouting report on Mueller.
Desert Dog Standing
McKeen's: Playing with something to prove from last year. Do you think you underestimated the league last year?
Mueller: No. Obviously you are playing in the number one league in the entire world. I thought my second year was going to be like my first year but it did not turn out the way that I wanted it to. I do have a chip on my shoulder to try to prove that I can put up points in this league and that I am an offensively productive player in the NHL.
McKeen's: So no Wayne Gretzky this year behind the bench, how has Dave Tippet been thus far?
Mueller: Coach Tippet is a good systems coach and everyone has gotten on board with what he has tried to do here. He has made a positive impression on all the guys, as he is really organized and it shows in our game preparation and practises.
McKeen's: How about Dave King?
Mueller: Dave has been a great addition. On top of his wealth of hockey experience, he is always offering positive advice during practise and he is a great speaker to the guys.
McKeen's: It appears you have improved your shot this year. You also appear to have made adjustments to your defensive game.
Mueller: I wanted to be more defensive and help out the guys in all areas of the ice. You have to make adjustments to be able to play at a high level of competition like the NHL. I need to be careful not to get caught too deep chasing a play and exhibit more patience, as there are some fast guys in this league that can burn you.
McKeen's: This team is not as young as last year with many of your draft picks getting sent down to start the year. Does that make guys like you more accountable given your albeit brief length of service thus far in the league?
Mueller: The younger guys will get a chance to play, plain and simple. It helps to play 20-23 minutes a game as opposed to seeing limited ice here. Overall, I think it will be better for them. I think we have a good group of guys here and we are underrated. I am confident that we are going to surprise a lot of people and team's.
McKeen's: Finally, you have yet to play a home game. What do you imagine the reception will be like with the 'white out'?
Mueller: It is going to be super exciting. We sold out the bottom bowl and I am confident that we will sell the place out. This year will be an exciting time to be a Coyote fan!
A slick playmaker with outstanding vision and uncanny passing skills .. becoming more aware in all three zones but thrives on the PP where he can exploit his time and space .. not a gifted skater, his first step is sluggish and his overall skating mechanics are awkward .. he does make the most out of his wayward stride .. becoming more responsible in the neutral zone, as he head mans the puck and is careful not to get caught deep .. offensive game is mature, as he is equipped with strong vision and can brilliantly execute passes through skates and errant sticks .. finds the open man with alarming accuracy .. continues to play the point on the PP as he did in the Gretzky era, as his vision and his ability to control the game are key to the Coyotes success .. bullies his way to the front of the goal when the pressure in the offensive zone is sustained .. shelters the puck as he has formidable size, especially in close to surprise both defenders and goalies with the quickness of his release .. slowly putting all the pieces together and he has been partnered up with Lang and Vrbata .. the duo offers him two established and experienced players from which he can learn from.