A pair of ex-Sharks signed new deals with their current clubs today. Recently-traded defenseman Mirco Mueller signed a two-year, $1,700,000 contract ($850,000 AAV) with the New Jersey Devils, while Long Beach Native Matt Nieto signed a one-year, $1,000,000 deal to return to the Colorado Avalanche.
Mueller, who was traded last month ahead of the Expansion Draft, will earn $775,000 in the first year of his contract, and $925,000 in the second. His contract is a one-way deal, meaning he will be paid the same if he is sent down to the AHL as he is in the NHL. Mueller, who played 112 games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda the last two seasons, will be waivers-exempt for at least this upcoming season, as he’s played 54 NHL games, 106 shy of losing that exemption.
The 2013 first round pick should get an opportunity to establish himself in the NHL next season. As NJ.com’s Chris Ryan notes, the Expansion Draft has created an opening that Mueller can seize in training camp:
The Devils did lose Jon Merrill to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Expansion Draft, so there is a hole on the left side where Mueller could jump in. The Devils will look to get the 6-3, 205-pound defenseman back on track this season.
The Avalanche claimed Nieto a day after the Sharks waived him. In 43 games with the Avalanche, Nieto scored 11 points (seven goals, four assists), and finished the season as the team’s leader (min. 150 minutes played) in even strength corsi-for percentage (51.92%, per Natural Stat Trick), fenwick-for percentage (50.69%), second in scoring chances for (51.92%), second in relative fenwick-for (3.19%), and fifth in relative corsi-for (2.39%). Those possession numbers have given our friends at Mile High Hockey high hopes for next season:
Like with a number of young Avs forwards, this will be a make or break year for Nieto and he’s definitely a guy that has the skill to take advantage if given the opportunity. I expect Nieto’s production to jump quite a bit this season and for the Avs to look to lock him up long term.
There is no word yet if Niets dropped any beats to commemorate his new contract.