Peter Mueller wanted out of his last NHL contract with the Blues. (Greg Bartram/USA Today Sports)
BRIGHTON — Peter Mueller wants to resurrect his NHL career. He feels repairing his reputation is part of that.
A 28-year-old skilled forward whom the Coyotes chose eighth overall in 2008, Mueller has spent the last three seasons playing in Europe. After injuries derailed his NHL career, he planned to play the 2013-14 season in Switzerland before returning to the NHL for the 2014-15 season. A one-year deal with the Blues was the Minnesota native’s ticket back to North America, but he ended up going back to Switzerland after he and the team mutually agreed to terminate the deal at the end of the preseason. He’s been playing in Europe since, spending one more season with the Kloten Flyers in Switzerland and then last season with the Malmö Redhawks of the Swedish Elite League.
Mueller still harbors ill feelings over his brief St. Louis experience, but his disappointment is directed more at himself than the Blues. After management told him of their intentions to send him to the AHL, Mueller said he wanted out, a move he feels has left him with a reputation.
“It didn’t work out in my favor, and I could be a little immature, and a little, on my behalf, not fully committed to the organization, which was tough for me,” Mueller said Tuesday after captain’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
“A lot of things happened when that happened. Three years have gone past, and I’ve matured a lot more. I’ve got a family. It’s amazing what a child will do to your life and how committed you are. It was a tough situation for me at that point in time, but that’s all behind me and I’m hoping to prove to everyone in North America that this is no joke and this is for real this time.”
To that point, Mueller said Tuesday that he would sign in the AHL if he did not make an NHL team this season. He felt it was important to make that clarification to teams, as the St. Louis ordeal might have left clubs thinking bringing him to camp would be a waste of time.
“I think I have to prove to everyone that I’m here to stay and I want to stay here,” he said. “Whatever Boston has in store for me, I’m ready to accept.
“I think it’s always curious to a lot of people on what happened there. To be honest, I don’t blame them because it was a weird situation for everybody. I’ve talked to people that showed interest and told them whatever happened happened. People understood my situation, but also it’s a tough situation to walk away from. It’s unfortunate that I did, but I’m just trying to make up for it now.”
Drafted as a center back in the day, Mueller said that his recent years in Europe have been spent mostly at left and right wing. That’s good for his chances of making a B’s team that is overflowing with centers in David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Spooner, David Backes, Dominic Moore, Noel Acciari and Riley Nash.
Last season, Mueller had 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points in 43 games for Malmö. His best season overseas came in 2013-14, when he scored 24 goals and had 22 helpers for 46 points in 49 games with Kloten.