That’s good news for defenseman Mirco Mueller, who represents the team’s future, but also hopes to be a contributor next season.
“When Doug Wilson says he trusts in younger players and he wants to build on our age group, that gives you a lot of motivation and confidence that you really have a shot to make the team,” Mueller told NHL.com.
Mueller, who was taken with the 18th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, only has nine games worth of AHL experience after spending most of the 2013-14 campaign at the junior level. However, there’s a spot open for the 19-year-old as the Sharks only have six defensemen signed to one-way contracts.
In order to better his chances of securing that opening, Mueller has been bulking up over the summer and now boasts a 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame. Sharks coach Todd McLellan took note of that during the team’s development camp.
“He’s obviously physically more mature,” McLellan said. “He’s put some weight on; he’s put some muscle on his body. His presence is greater now than it was last year. He obviously feels a little more comfortable around the coaches and his teammates.”
Mueller is a two-way defenseman and models himself after Duncan Keith. He had 27 points in 60 WHL contests in 2013-14 and another two assists during his AHL stint.
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.