The New Jersey Devils sent two picks to the San Jose Sharks for former first-round pick Mirco Mueller. While the trade looked rough when it happened, it made more sense when the Devils chose Nico Hischier first overall.
The New Jersey Devils were expected to make multiple moves with the plethora of draft picks they had in the 2017 NHL Draft class. The trade for former San Jose Sharks defenseman Mirco Mueller was supposed to open the flood gates, but it ended up being the only player the team acquired prior to the draft.
The deal for Mueller looks pretty bad on paper. The team sent the 49th overall pick along with trading down from the fourth to the fifth round in order to get the former first-round pick. While Mueller has a ton of upside, he’s shown nothing while in the NHL. In fact, he was even bad in the AHL last season. With just 18 assists in 62 minor league games, Mueller needs to play much better on both sides to hold onto a spot on the NHL roster.
When the trade was done, Devils head coach John Hynes told NJ.com that there is a lot to like about Mueller’s game.
“Mirco is adding another piece to what we’re trying to build here,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “He’s a young player, he can play with pace. He’s a very good skater. He’s got size, which is something we need on the back end. He makes a good first pass. He allows you to get out of your own zone because he can break out, he can end plays defensively, get possession, make the pass to be able to transition yourself out of defensive situations.”
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Mueller was once a blue-chip prospect for the Sharks. A 22-year-old puck moving defenseman is hard to find in the NHL. These are all great reasons to bring in a player, but not for the same price the Devils payed for an established player like Kyle Palmieri.
The Devils brought Mueller in to help Nico Hischier. The two are only four years apart in age, and more importantly, they are both from Switzerland.
Hischier, the number one overall pick in Friday’s draft will likely start the season on the Devils. Having a player there that can help his transition to living in the United States will allow him to focus on hockey. They might even become roommates.
Right now, there are only about 15 Swiss players in the NHL. The Devils made it a point to bring one of them on to make their new star player feel comfortable. When you look at the trade in that context, it looks a lot better.