Author: Joe Yerdon

Mirco Mueller

Sharks sign ’13 first-round pick Mueller, send him to juniors

Mirco Mueller was San Jose’s 2013 first-round pick, 18th overall, and now he’s officially in the fold.

The Sharks announced they signed Mueller to his three-year, entry-level deal and are sending him back to his junior team, the Everett Silvertips of the WHL.

Mueller was the WHL rookie of the year last year after putting up 31 points, second-best amongst rookie defensemen in the league. After getting a chance to show the Sharks what he’s got early in camp, he’ll head back to his junior team to continue his development.

As it is, San Jose’s blue line corps didn’t offer much hope for competition to start and Mueller would’ve needed to be other-worldly in his play to stick around. At 18 years old, he’ll be just fine back in Everett.

Clowe (charley horse) returns to Devils practice

Martin Brodeur, Ryane Clowe

Ryane Clowe’s start with the New Jersey Devils has already seen him battling injuries.

He was banged up with a charley horse Thursday night in a game against the Islanders and missed practice the last two days.

After a season that saw him overcome concussion problems with the Sharks and Rangers, Devils fans can breathe a little easier as he returned to practice today as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice reports.

Clowe skated with Patrik Elias and tryout candidate Damien Brunner. One guy who hasn’t returned to action is Jaromir Jagr as he’s still out with a lower body injury.

The Devils will find a way to replace Ilya Kovalchuk’s offense this season, it just might require bandages and glue at times.

Oilers’ Gagner out indefinitely with broken jaw

Frank Corrado, Sam Gagner

The Edmonton Oilers were already facing depth issues at center and now they’re about to be tested even further.

The team announce forward Sam Gagner would be out indefinitely with a broken jaw suffered in last night’s preseason win over Vancouver. Gagner was high-sticked in the second period, left the game and did not return.

It was reported he lost some teeth courtesy of the stick of Zack Kassian, but things have gotten a bit worse now.

The Oilers were set to start the season with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as he’s recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. They’ve been playing Taylor Hall at center to take his place for the time being, but losing Gagner means they’re now without their top two pivots.

With the Oilers hoping to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006, this season is not getting started at all the way they hoped.

Bergeron ‘felt pretty good’ after first preseason game

Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron’s return to action last night went without a hitch. After suffering a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a shoulder injury during the Stanley Cup Final his summer of recovery was arduous.

After helping Boston take out Detroit 2-0 in a preseason affair, he says he’s feeling good. Joe Haggerty of has the story.

“It felt pretty good. I was able to battle in the corners and in front of the net. That was my biggest question: reaching and stretching out for pucks, and battling other guys,” said Bergeron. “But overall I felt good, and I’m pretty happy with it. Now it’s in the past and I can start looking forward.”

Looking forward is key for this Bruins team after all the changes they went through on top of Bergeron’s punishment in the Final.

As for his game, he played 16:05 in his first action back with no points but the key part as far as Boston cares was seeing him back on the ice in action.

Stepan and Rangers about $600,000 apart on a contract

Derek Stepan

The New York Rangers and restricted free agent Derek Stepan still haven’t gotten a new deal worked out. With the Rangers season starting October 3 in Phoenix, time is running short to get him into camp and prepared for the year.

The crazy part here is the two sides aren’t far apart in getting a deal done.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post opines that both sides are losing in these negotiations if they continue to drag, especially when their money demands are close.

Brooks says Stepan is seeking a two-year bridge deal worth $7 million while the Rangers and GM Glen Sather have offered him a two-year deal at just under $6 million but are willing to go to $6.4 million.

A difference of $600,000 separating the two sides from getting a deal done seems like a foolish amount to squabble over, but here we are.

The Rangers have talked about how they’ve liked Brian Boyle’s play so far in camp and Derick Brassard and Brad Richards have looked stronger, but Stepan is their No. 1 center no matter what.

If the Rangers want to keep pushing Stepan into a corner to get a contract done their way, they might be looking at even tougher negotiations in two years when his next deal ends.