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Panthers gamble on Peter Mueller with one-year deal

Jul 11, 2012, 9:46 PM EDT

petermuellerap AP

Considering how shallow (and risk-heavy) the NHL free agent market is, Peter Mueller struck me as one of the most interesting gambles of all the unrestricted guys below the “obvious star” level. Renaud P. Lavoie reports that the Florida Panthers decided to roll the dice with the promising-but-concussion-plagued winger, handing him a one-year contract worth $1.725 million.

GM Dale Tallon hit the jackpot with one of his injury risks last summer as Tomas Fleischmann set career-highs with 27 goals and 61 points. Naturally, concussion and blood clot issues aren’t the same thing, yet the Panthers aren’t making anywhere near the investment in term or dollars for Mueller.

As of this moment, Mueller’s salary would make him the sixth-highest paid forward, which probably makes sense since the Panthers probably envision him – ideally – as a top-six guy.

Still, there is some risk involved. Mueller’s concussion issues limited him to 32 games last season and wiped out his 2010-11 campaign completely. Wasted money would still be wasted money if he can’t play a game.

Even so, Mueller’s potential is tantalizing. He was the eighth overall pick of the 2006 draft and while his foot speed is lacking, he has nice size and a useful right-handed shot. If he can be reasonably healthy, he could provide Florida with some of the depth offense they needed last season. (The team struggled to score beyond the big first line that usually featured Fleischmann, Stephen Weiss and Kris Versteeg.)

Speaking of Versteeg, re-signing him likely remains the highest priority on Florida’s off-season to-do list. Unless you count trading for Roberto Luongo, that is.

  1. rsl22 - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    I think you messed up, PHT.

    There should probably be a 1 in front of the $725,000.

    • James O'Brien - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:55 PM

      Yeah, fixed it moments after the post went up. Tweaked the content, too, but thanks!

      • rsl22 - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:56 PM

        Saw it. Was just momentarily upset that the Caps could have had Mueller for basically the same price tag as Wolski.

  2. mathieug79 - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Here’s the tweet from someone stating what Renaud Lavoie reported : “Panthers sign Peter Mueller per Renaud Lavoie. One year deal at 1.725M. If he is healthy, this is another great gamble.” Thats 1.725M not 725K

    • mathieug79 - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      Sorry Repost lol EDITED

  3. ak5040 - Jul 11, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Kind of sad to see this. Wish his time in Colorado could of been better. Being an Avs fan I’m sure now he’ll stay healthy, have a career year and be a 30G scorer….just my luck!!

    • govtminion - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:13 AM

      I hope you’re right- I always hate to see a player have concussion problems like this, here’s hoping he follows in the path of someone like Patrice Bergeron and has a good career ahead of him, even if it’s not in Colorado anymore.

  4. geo91 - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    This is a great signing for Florida, 1.75 is chump change in the big picture so this can’t even be considered a risk. I hope he rights the ship down there.

  5. drewsylvania - Jul 12, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    1 year $1.725M isn’t much of a gamble, really.

  6. jasonbroughlovezchunkysoup - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    soup can army is here to stay. RESPECT OUR THICKNESS

  7. jpat2424 - Jul 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Hawks need to bring steeger back to Chicago

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