Don’t expect Marcel Mueller
to waltz into the NHL.
Signed in July by the Leafs, the 22-year-old Mueller is a six-foot-three, 220-pound l
efthanded shooting left winger with a penchant for penalties. Mueller scored 24 goals and recorded 56 points in 53 games with Cologne of Germany’s top league. He also tossed in 122 penalty minutes.
Leafs GM Brian Burke said he projects Mueller as a possible top six forward. The timing of his arrival with the Leafs, he said, “will be up to him,” Burke said.
But Uwe Krupp, who coached Mueller at the Olympics and the World Championship said that while Mueller brings a strong skill set, he has a ways to go.
“He’s developed very nicely, but I don’t think anything he has done so far is going to be good enough to play for the Leafs,” said Krupp, in Toronto for the World Hockey Summit.
“Marcel is going to have to make another step and that is going to be a big challenge for him.”
He is an instinctive player who can make plays in a small space. He protects the puck really well and he goes hard to the net. He can be physical. He is versatile. To me he has always been an offensive player more than a third line or a fourth line centreman or winger.”
“His skating is good. He’s a big strong kid. He is 22 years old and I don’t think his physical development is finished.”
Germany was tagged by Burke as a country with incredible growth potential for hockey and Krupp, the only German with his name on the Stanley Cup, did not disagree.
“The potential is big. We have 90,000,000 people, but we only have 20,000 hockey players,” he said. Canada, by contrast, has 25 times the number of players with one third the population base.
With its population, “Germany has tremendous potential to be a great hockey country,” Krupp said