San Jose Sharks defenseman Mirco Mueller believes bigger is better.
The team's 2013 first-round pick (No. 18) told CSNBayArea.com that he has bulked up to 205 pounds in an attempt to make the NHL this season. He's listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds.
"I worked really hard in the summer to really gain those few pounds I needed," Mueller said during Sharks rookie camp. "I think I'm ready for [the NHL] now."
Mueller said the added weight will help him handle the physical play that comes with being in the NHL.
"You can obviously improve everywhere, but I think if there's one part it's the toughness around the net and in the corners," he said. "I think I kind of started to improve that with getting stronger. That helps a lot. Kind of being meaner around the slot, and just trying to play harder."
Mueller had five goals and 27 points in 60 games with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League last season. He is No. 29 on NHL.com's Top 60 prospect ranking.
There could be a chance for the left-shooting Mueller to make that jump. General manager Doug Wilson has said he would like to see some younger players get more of a chance this season. And of the five defensemen to play at least 19 minutes per game for the Sharks last season, only one, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, shoots lefty. Brad Stuart, another lefty, was traded to the Colorado Avalanche during the summer.
The only other left-shot defensemen on the NHL roster are Matt Irwin and Scott Hannan.
"Obviously there's spots open," Mueller said. "I think everyone knows that. I just come in with the same attitude I've always had, just get a spot no matter what the situation is. Just play my best hockey, and other things I can't really influence. I'm just doing what I can."