The Florida Panthers on Thursday signed 24-year-old free-agent center Peter Mueller, who was not given a qualifying offer by the Colorado Avalanche, to a one-year contract. RDS reports the deal is worth $1.725 million.
Mueller had seven goals and 16 points in 32 games with the Avs last season, missing 50 games due to a groin problem as well as post-concussion issues. He sat out all of the 2010-11 season due to a concussion. In 254 regular-season games for Phoenix and Colorado, he has 55 goals and 88 assists for 133 points.
Florida general manager Dale Tallon hopes Mueller, a right-handed shot, can stay healthy and provide offensive depth -- the Panthers struggled to score beyond the big first line that usually featured Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss.
“Peter is a young and talented forward who is a former first-round draft choice,” Tallon said in a statement. “He is a skilled player with an offensive upside who will help our power play.”
The Phoenix Coyotes chose Mueller with the eighth pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, and he scored 22 goals and 54 points as a rookie in 2007-08. He dropped to 13 goals and 36 points in 2008-09 and managed only four goals and 17 points in 54 games the following season before being dealt to the Avs at the trade deadline.
Mueller was an immediate hit with his new team, scoring nine goals and 20 points in 15 games, before missing the rest of the season with a concussion. Despite the injury, he was given a two-year contract by Colorado -- only to suffer another concussion during training camp that forced him to sit out the entire 2010-11 season.
It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.
— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness