Peter Mueller and the Avalanche still struggling to make a deal

petermueller1.jpgWaiting on restricted free agents to come to terms with their teams is a bit of an arduous process. Some teams don’t have the cap space they’d hope to to make a signing while others are sticking to a budget when looking to sign a player back. Other times, it comes down to differences of opinion on what a player is worth. Welcome to the world of Peter Mueller and the Colorado Avalanche.

The two sides have yet to come together on a deal and while details are lacking on how the negotiation is going, Adrian Dater of All Things Avs at The Denver Post poses the question about just how much could Mueller be worth considering his relatively short audition with the Avs last season and his health questions.

Yet, we all know Mueller had a highly productive 15 games with the Avs, posting 20 points and rejuvenating the power play. And we know he is a former top-10 NHL draft pick who had a very good rookie season for the Coyotes. He’s shown he can produce at this level. And we know, just because of how the system works, that Mueller is comparatively underpaid at his last salary of $850,000. I mean, Daniel Winnik is making more than that with the Avs now.

But we also know health factors into a team’s decision in deciding which players to give long-term, big contracts. We know Mueller has at least two documented concussions now which have kept him out of action. The more you get, the worse the long-term ramifications become, and often the longer the player is sidelined with the next one. Every player is one big hit away from a serious concussion, but those with histories of getting them, the more you worry.

So, what’s he worth? If the Avs were already at the cap floor, this would be a tougher question to answer. But since they’re not, the obvious answer seems to be “At least $2.1 million for 2010-11 anyway.” Done deal. What’s the holdup?

If the Avalanche are going to repeat the success they had last year, getting a full season out of Mueller, who was traded for Wojtek Wolski at the deadline last season, and having him continue to be productive would take some of the pressure off of youngsters Matt Duchene and Chris Stewart.

If Mueller is still struggling from the concussion he received at the end of last season, then that’s another issue entirely and one that muddies up the discussion over how much to pay the man. Considering how Mueller’s final days in Phoenix went, haggling too much with the Avs over money (if that is the case) might not be sending the right message to his new-ish team.

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    Stars, Rangers do their Caps – Pens impression in wild win for Dallas

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    If you watched only Tuesday’s Dallas Stars – New York Rangers game and yesterday’s manic Washington Capitals contest, you might believe that you were transported to the days of the 1988 Smythe Division.

    Just ask Justin Williams.

    That Penguins – Capitals game ended with an 8-7 overtime victory for Pittsburgh, while tonight’s 7-6 win for the Stars against the Rangers wasn’t far behind.

    All the goals

    Henrik Lundqvist gave up seven goals, eventually giving way to Magnus Hellberg in the third period. It’s been a rough go of things lately for the future Hall of Famer, with tonight marking the low point.

    The Stars opened up leads of 3-1 in the first period and 7-3 through the first two frames, but as you can guess from the score, the Rangers stormed back with three goals in a surprisingly tight third period.

    Kari Lehtonen saved the day for the Stars, stopping 12 of 12 after taking over about halfway through the third for Antti Niemi.

    Much like with the Penguins – Capitals clash, it was about more than just seeing a lot of goals.

    More than just a high-scoring game

    Cody Eakin and Chris Kreider were in the thick of things. Eakin scored his first goal of 2016-17, a 7-3 tally that absurdly ended up being the game-winner. Kreider began the Rangers’ rally with his 18th goal of the season, hit Eakin with his own helmet during a fight and created his typical brand of chaos.

    As much as this might sting the Rangers, and as concerned as they may be about Lundqvist’s play, at least it looks like Ryan McDonagh avoided injury despite this scary fall:

    OK, so these four teams dropped the gauntlet for wild games this week. Who’s going to carry the torch on Wednesday?

    Report: Islanders granted permission to interview Gerard Gallant

    NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 29:  Head coach Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers speaks during Media Day for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena on January 29, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Gerard Gallant might not go long between head coaching gigs.

    The New York Islanders have received permission to speak with Gallant, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

    Gallant was an assistant coach with the Islanders from 2007 to 2009, so there’s some familiarity there with GM Garth Snow (it was early on in his reign). Gallant was unceremoniously fired by the Florida Panthers in late November, with plenty of rumors circulating that he didn’t jive well with the franchise’s analytics-driven mindset. Gallant denied those claims, for whatever that’s worth.

    (If such rumblings are true, perhaps Gallant would agree with the questionable logic of giving limited, but heavy-hitting forward Cal Clutterbuck a contract extension. That would be an interesting question to ask him during an interview, eh?)

    Doug Weight is currently considered the Islanders interim head coach after the firing of Jack Capuano.

    About the only bummer for everyone outside of Weight is that the Islanders already played their three games against the Panthers this season, so we’d have to wait until 2017-18 for whatever drama would come of that.

    Robin Lehner’s furious anger seemingly directed at Sabres after being pulled

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    Update: There’s now full video to get a better sense of Robin Lehner‘s behavior.

    The Maple Leafs ended up beating the Sabres 4-3 after Buffalo made the game awfully interesting.

    ***

    Late last season, Ben Scrivens expressed relief in avoiding a fight with Robin Lehner, the Buffalo Sabres goalie he called “a bit of a psycho.” It sure seemed like the Sabres were the target of his frightening anger on Tuesday.

    Lehner really didn’t seem too happy after being pulled from the game, whether that anger was directed at Dan Bylsma, his Sabres teammates or … everyone?

    Watch him rage out after getting the hook following Toronto’s three-goal outburst in about nine minutes:

    /Cowers in fear.

    Onlookers seem to believe that the tension was real.

    Raise your hand if you wouldn’t want to be around Lehner right now. Here’s the impressive Auston Matthews 3-2 goal that ended his night early:

    Jared Spurgeon shows he has hands like a surgeon (Video)

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    Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon has a pretty good knack for scoring goals, especially considering the fact that he doesn’t always take a ton of shots.

    Maybe Bruce Boudreau should consider asking him to fire away a little more often.

    You won’t see many prettier examples of hand-eye coordination than Spurgeon’s power-play goal from Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, which gave the Wild a 1-0 lead. Watch it in the video above.

    It’s almost impressive enough to justify rhyming his last name with surgeon. You know, theoretically.