Peter Mueller looked like a totally different player – more specifically, the kind of player who is a top 10 draft pick – once he was traded from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Colorado Avalanche. He scored more points in 15 games in Colorado (20) than he produced in 54 contests as a Coyote (17). Much like Lee Stempniak in Phoenix, it’s natural to wonder if he could actually maintain that point per game pace, but the Avalanche might be wise to see if he can pull it off.
The Avalanche and Mueller finally came to terms on a new contract today as TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that he signed a two-year deal that will earn him $1.5 million in 2010-11 and $2.5 million in 2011-12. In other words, it is a two-year deal worth $4 million overall that will make for a $2 million cap hit per year.
Mueller scored 37 and 36 points in the last two seasons after posting his career high (54 points) as a rookie in 2007-08. You have to wonder if some of his issues rest in between his ears since he clearly flourished outside of the defensive-minded confines of the Coyotes system.
In many other summers, I think “flash in the pan” guys like Mueller, Wojtek Wolski and Stempniak would garner more attention, even if they are restricted free agents. A slow market means that potentially dynamic players like Mueller actually need to prove they can produce big numbers for more than just a small window of time. Overall, the Avalanche could be real winners with this deal as the big, versatile forward could exceed his contract if he even approaches his late 09-10 levels.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Looking back at 10 years of Alex Ovechkin with the Washington Capitals, in case the above video made you want more. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
David Conte spent 10,000 days with Lou Lamoriello and lived to tell about it. (TSN)
Want to spot some contract year guys? Here are 32 pending restricted free agents. (Sportsnet)
NHL GMs are starting to sniff around with the 2015-16 season about to kick off. (Ottawa Sun)
Some backstory on Zack Kassian that was passed around on Twitter last evening. (Canucks website)
Hey, you can’t say Raffi Torres hasn’t literally paid for his ways:
This is some quality chirping between Jaromir Jagr and Matthew Barnaby:
Does the NHL have a cocaine problem?
TSN caught up with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who provided some fascinating insight:
“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.”
Daly said that he’d be surprised “if we’re talking more than 20 guys” and then touched on something that may be a problem: they don’t test it in a “comprehensive way.”
As Katie Strang’s essential ESPN article about the Los Angeles Kings’ tough season explored in June, there are some challenges for testing for a drug like cocaine. That said, there are also some limitations that may raise some eyebrows.
For one, it metabolizes quickly. Michael McCabe, a Philadelphia-based toxicology expert who works for Robson Forensic, told ESPN.com that, generally speaking, cocaine filters out of the system in two to four days, making it relatively easy to avoid a flag in standard urine tests.
The NHL-NHLPA’s joint drug-testing program is not specifically designed to target recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. The Performance Enhancing Substances Program is put into place to do exactly that — screen for performance-enhancing drugs.
So, are “party drugs” like cocaine and molly an issue for the NHL?
At the moment, the answer almost seems to be: “the league hopes not.”
Daly goes into plenty of detail on the issue, so read the full TSN article for more.