Programming note: Sharks-Maple Leafs coverage tips off Tuesday at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
Recent Sharks first round draft pick Mirco Mueller was named as the 17th best prospect in the NHL, according to The Hockey News’ annual Future Watch edition.
Mueller, a defenseman who will turn 19 on March 21, was the Sharks’ first selection in 2013. The team traded a second round pick to move up two places in order to snag him 18th overall.
The lanky six-foot-three, 184-pound Switzerland native is in his second season with Everett (WHL). In 56 games, he has four goals and 22 assists for 26 points, 31 penalty minutes and a +1 rating.
Mueller attended the Sharks’ rookie camp last July and training camp in September, although a back injury hindered him in the NHL camp.
In July, Mueller’s stated goal was to make the team for the 2014-15 season.
“Right now, how things are, I really want to try to make the team next year, after the next season. We’ll see how that goes,” said Mueller, who has been compared to current Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic for his technical prowess in the defensive zone.
Sharks scouting director Tim Burke told The Hockey News that’s not entirely out of the question.
“Tough to say with where our team is,” Burke said. “I’d say it’s 50-50.”
Mueller signed a three-year entry level contract with the Sharks on Sept. 22.