Mueller on Coyotes roster, likely won’t return to Tips

EVERETT — Don’t expect to see Peter Mueller back in Everett.

At least any time soon.

The NHL season began in earnest Wednesday and Mueller remains with his NHL team, the Phoenix Coyotes. Therefore it’s looking less and less likely the Everett Silvertips will have the star center’s services this season.

“We’re moving ahead without him,” Everett general manager Doug Soetaert said. “We’re making decisions on our hockey team knowing he’s not coming back, and that’s what we’ve done the last month-and-a-half. I’m not looking at him coming back. If he comes back, so be it. If it doesn’t happen, we’re moving ahead without him.”

The 19-year-old Mueller, a first-team Western Conference all-star last season, is one of 24 players the Coyotes take into their season opener tonight against the St. Louis Blues. That group includes just 13 forwards. Therefore, there’s little doubt Mueller will be needed in the lineup.

That was reinforced during the preseason. Mueller appeared in all eight of Phoenix’s preseason games, and although Mueller had just one goal and no assists, he saw substantial minutes in every game. He will probably make his NHL debut tonight, becoming the first former Silvertip to make an opening-night roster.

“Hopefully he’s good enough to play in the National Hockey League,” Soetaert said. “That’s where all the boys want to play. If he’s good enough, he’ll be there.”

However, just because Mueller made the opening-day roster doesn’t mean he wont return to Everett at some point this season.

As a 19-year-old who has signed with his NHL team and came through the Canadian Hockey League, Mueller is eligible to play in just two places this season, either Phoenix or Everett. If at some point the Coyotes decide he’s not yet ready for the NHL, they’ll have to send him back to the Tips.

Also, Mueller’s contract doesn’t kick in until he plays his 10th NHL game, so he can still be sent back without any consequences through nine games. Even if he plays more than 10 games he can still be sent back to Everett, but it’s is less likely if the Coyotes have to pay his contract.

Campos claimed: Former Silvertip forward Brandon Campos, who was placed on waivers Monday, was claimed by the Chilliwack Bruins on Wednesday. Chilliwack had an opening for an overager because forward Ken Petkau decided to retire from hockey. Campos was a victim of Everett’s glut of competitors for its three overage spots.

Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog:

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