Peter Mueller

Rangers’ Lombardi goes the Mueller route, rejects AHL assignment


This summer, ex-NHLers Matthew Lombardi and Peter Mueller left the Swiss league to attempt comebacks with the Rangers and Blues, respectively.

Now it sounds like both are headed back across the pond.

Following news that Mueller, who was released by St. Louis, signed with the NLA’s Kloten Flyers, TVA reported that Lombardi refused his assignment to AHL Hartford — meaning a return to his old Swiss club, Geneve-Servette HC, could be in the cards.

Lombardi, 32, looked to have a decent shot of cracking the Rangers this year, especially after center Derek Stepan went down to injury in the preseason. But Lombardi suffered a lower-body injury of his own during camp and was unable to make his way up the depth chart, and didn’t want to toil in the minors for another crack at the NHL.

It’s very similar to the Mueller situation in St. Louis. From’s Lou Korac:

“He doesn’t want to go to [AHL] Chicago,” [Blues GM Dough] Armstrong said of Mueller, who played in four preseason games with the Blues. “We put him back on unconditional waivers today. If he clears tomorrow, we’ll talk one more time and make sure that he no longer has the desire to stay in North America. He’ll be released out of his contract, no buyout.”

Mueller was originally penciled into the Blues’ top nine but didn’t make the cut as camp progressed. But the team signed him with the assumption that Mueller would report to Chicago should be not make the opening night roster and work his way back to St. Louis.

“That was a difficult one obviously for the organization and for Peter,” Armstrong said. “We thought he had a good camp. He was in our group of nine players that were going to start in our first three lines and we viewed him as a top nine player. He just doesn’t feel like he has the desire to go to the American Hockey League at this time and work his way back up. I have to respect that and we’ll move forward with that.”

Welcome back: Wild claim Prosser off waivers from Blues


The Minnesota Wild brought a familiar face back into the fold on Thursday by claiming d-man Nate Prosser off waivers from St. Louis.

Prosser, 28, signed with the Wild as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and spent five years with the club, appearing in over 100 regular-season contests while making 10 postseason appearances last year.

The former Colorado College standout inked a one-year, two-way deal (worth $700,000) with the Blues in July but was put on waivers yesterday — along with Peter Mueller — after both were unable to crack what’s a pretty loaded St. Louis roster.

How Prosser fits in his second tour with the Wild remains to be seen. For more perspective, here’s what the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo wrote in July when the club opted not to re-sign Prosser:

Prosser proved last year you can easily throw him in and feel comfortable. The question is whether the Wild would be willing to sign Prosser to a one-way contract. That’s what he still wants if he’s going to re-sign in Minnesota. At some point soon, if Prosser is offered a concrete two-way from someone, he may need to pounce though. As I mentioned the other day, there’s only so many so-called “veterans” teams can sign that can play in the minors if those players don’t make the big club. And those “veteran” roster spots are quickly filling up on AHL rosters.

The debate internally, I think, is the Wild is still trying to make a trade for a defenseman before training camp. So if you sign Prosser to a one-way and then acquire another one-way contract, you could be blocking out kids like Christian Folin or Matt Dumba or maybe even have to put a one-way like Prosser in the minors (if he were not to be claimed off waivers).

The Wild never made that trade and currently have 11 d-men on the roster, though Keith Ballard has been dealing with a lower-body injury.

Hitchcock’s advice to Mueller on making Blues: just play


While Peter Mueller boasts the advantage of at least having a contract (rather than just a tryout invite) with the St. Louis Blues, he must still make a strong impression since he signed a two-way deal.

(The 26-year-old’s contract is worth $700K at the NHL level but drops to $250K in the AHL, according to Cap Geek.)

As nerve-wracking as the prospect of fighting for a spot might be – particularly after going overseas last season, especially on a team Mueller referred to as a “powerhouse” – Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock gave the journeyman forward very simple advice.

With a history of concussion problems and a false-start or two in his career, it would be understandable if Mueller (pictured playing for Team USA) might fear over-thinking things, especially with a defensive-minded coach like Hitchcock. There’s plenty of logic in setting him loose, however, as there’s always the chance he could be a late-blooming prospect (he was selected eighth overall in 2006) like Benoit Pouliot.

Granted, with 13 forwards listed and Jaden Schwartz still in need of a contract, Mueller still faces a significant challenge in sticking around. Taking a positive approach can’t hurt though, right?

It’s St. Louis Blues Day at PHT


Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The St. Louis Blues.

It’s been like a sad movie on repeat the past few seasons for the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues have had brilliant regular season performances sullied by crushing disappointment in the playoffs. Two years in a row it was the Los Angeles Kings ousting them from the postseason. Last season, it was their hated rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks, giving them the boot in the first round.

Before the playoffs began, it seemed like it was all set up for St. Louis to make a deep run. They acquired Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from the Buffalo Sabres to help give them the boost they felt they needed in goal and the agitating penalty killer you need in the postseason.

Adding those two to go along with captain David Backes, surprising goal-scoring maven Alex Steen, rising Russian star Vladimir Tarasenko, Team USA standout T.J. Oshie, and young stud Jaden Schwartz gave the Blues the depth up front they’d been lacking.

With the forwards seemingly set and a defensive corps led by Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Jay Bouwmeester the road to the Cup Final was there for the taking. Of course, things don’t always go how they’re drawn up.

Miller struggled in St. Louis. Whether that was due to the Blues tinkering with his positioning in net or not, the same bad goals Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott gave up in years past were also beating Miller. That combined with the Blues inability to keep up with the Blackhawks scorers netted Ken Hitchcock’s team yet another early start on the summer.

Suffice to say, if there are more playoff struggles next season there could be hell to pay.

Offseason Recap

The Blues were one of the most active teams of the summer.

They signed former Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny to a four-year, $28 million deal. He gives the Blues a true No. 1 center and a guy who is strong at both ends of the ice. While Backes was their top center last year, adding Stastny may help move him to the wing. That’s luxury.

St. Louis also re-signed Ott but lost Vladimir Sobotka to the KHL. That trade-off is one that made some scratch their heads as Sobotka is younger and seemed to be a perfect player with the Blues. Ott’s veteran abilities were valued by Hitchcock, however, and that always works out to have the coach on your side.

They also parted ways with Miller opting instead to keep Elliott and make him the starter and potentially give Jake Allen his chance to shine. Acquiring Miller brought on scrutiny for GM Doug Armstrong and the decision to let him walk to sign with the Vancouver Canucks will be put under the microscope.

The Blues also added forwards Jori Lehtera from the KHL and Peter Mueller from Switzerland. They also dealt Roman Polak to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Carl Gunnarsson. Blues fans may need a scorecard or a really sweet phone app to know who they’re rooting for next season.

Komarov, Mueller returning to NHL next season


Sometimes a year away from the NHL is all it takes to get back.

That’s what forwards Leo Komarov and Peter Mueller are hoping.’s Craig Custance reports both players are looking to come back to the world’s best hockey league after each spent this season in Europe.

Komarov (pictured) spent this past season with Moscow Dynamo in the KHL. He also played in the Olympics and World Championships for Finland. He had been with the Toronto Maple Leafs previously and had a solid season there, but couldn’t work out a new deal to stick around.

With Moscow, Komarov had 12 goals and 34 points in 52 games. At 27 years old he’ll make an effective third or fourth line player that can agitate anyone and have some skill to boot.

Mueller’s year in Europe was spent in the Swiss National League and playing for Team USA at World Championships. He scored 24 goals for Kloten tying him for the league lead and had 46 points in 49 games. That point total was good for third in the league.

His departure from the NHL was a bit of a surprise, but after a tough season with the Florida Panthers he had to show he still could rack up points. Mission accomplished. Now he’ll hope a team has a need for a depth skill player.