The San Jose Sharks recalled defenseman Mirco Mueller from the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League (AHL) on Thursday morning. The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise as the Sharks will likely be without one of their top five blue liners as Brenden Dillon isn’t expected to go tonight when San Jose hosts the Calgary Flames.
Dillon left the Sharks 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks early in the first period with an upper-body injury. It appears Dillon was on the ice following the morning skate so that is good news, but still not likely that he suits up for tonight’s contest.
The 20-year-old Mueller has spent the majority of his season in the AHL, where he has posted one goal and seven assists with a plus-eight rating in 30 games with the Barracuda. It’s been evident that Mueller has needed more time to develop as he appeared overwhelmed in his limited action with the NHL club this year.
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In 10 games with the Sharks, Mueller has failed to register a point with a minus-four rating while averaging 10:34 of ice time per game. In 49 career games at the NHL level, the former 2013 first-round pick has amassed just one goal and three assists while being a minus-12.
It doesn’t appear that he has the full trust of Peter DeBoer at this point in time, and DeBoer has an interesting decision tonight on who to insert into the lineup.
He could go with Mueller to keep the left-right combination within his defensive pairings or he could insert Matt Tennyson, who hasn’t appeared in a Sharks game since Dec. 8, ironically against this same Calgary team.
Either way, San Jose will be missing a key piece of their defensive corps as Dillon has been having a very solid season for the Sharks. In 52 games, Dillon has one goal, five assists and a plus-seven rating in 16:25 of ice time per night. He provides a rare physical presence on the back end, ranking second on the team with 51 penalty minutes.
San Jose returns to SAP Center tonight as they get set to take on Calgary, looking to build off their win in Chicago two nights ago. The Sharks will need to take advantage of these rare home games this month as they try to hold off the hard-charging Anaheim Ducks for second place in the Pacific Division.