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Komarov, Mueller returning to NHL next season

Jun 21, 2014, 9:40 AM EDT

Leo Komarov AP

Sometimes a year away from the NHL is all it takes to get back.

That’s what forwards Leo Komarov and Peter Mueller are hoping. ESPN.com’s Craig Custance reports both players are looking to come back to the world’s best hockey league after each spent this season in Europe.

Komarov (pictured) spent this past season with Moscow Dynamo in the KHL. He also played in the Olympics and World Championships for Finland. He had been with the Toronto Maple Leafs previously and had a solid season there, but couldn’t work out a new deal to stick around.

With Moscow, Komarov had 12 goals and 34 points in 52 games. At 27 years old he’ll make an effective third or fourth line player that can agitate anyone and have some skill to boot.

Mueller’s year in Europe was spent in the Swiss National League and playing for Team USA at World Championships. He scored 24 goals for Kloten tying him for the league lead and had 46 points in 49 games. That point total was good for third in the league.

His departure from the NHL was a bit of a surprise, but after a tough season with the Florida Panthers he had to show he still could rack up points. Mission accomplished. Now he’ll hope a team has a need for a depth skill player.

  1. lowenni - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    I like Komarov a lot. I thought it was a mistake of the Leafs to let him go, he brings a lot of passion to whatever team he plays on. Mueller will not be more than a depth forward.

    • dueman - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      The Leafs were up against the cap last year, and couldn’t afford to keep him, with what Moscow Dynamo paid him. The way that Leo has been talking though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in Toronto this year…? He provided a lot of energy, which was really missing last year.

      • elrock7 - Jun 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM

        Is Komorov unrestricted or do the Leafs hold right of 1st refusal?

    • c9castine - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM

      i wouldnt call komarov anything more than that either but yeah i agree he should have no problem getting an NHL contract everything i saw from him in international play was impressive and i know he had that goal in mind while he was doing it so.

  2. phillyphanatic77 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    It’s a shame what happened to Mueller, before his injury troubles he was a bright young playmaker. I’d certainly give him a chance as a 3rd liner for cheap… he could be a bargain.

    • darksidecowboy - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      Started with the Coyotes, needs to go back to his original team that’s begging for offense.

    • rsl22 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      It is surprising. He was a big, talented player, and just seemed to hit a wall. He may just have been brought up to the bigs too early. He had a lot on the line as a 19 year old and just couldn’t live up to it. Of course concussions could be equally to blame, although he seemed healthy in FLA but couldn’t get his game in order.

      On the right team, I agree that he could be a good 3C. Expecting a PP presence though may be unrealistic.

  3. hosewater2 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Headline is incorrect, they are not returning as they do not have contracts as yet. Attempting to return would work.

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