The Colorado Avalanche's Gamble Is Paying Off

James CriderCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 04:  Peter Mueller #88 of the Colorado Avalanche in action during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on March 4, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Avalanche 3-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In his first year as Avalanche GM, Greg Sherman has once again proven longevity is not synonymous with proficiency.

Sherman's acquisition of forward Peter Mueller has been another in a series of homerun moves this season for the Avalanche.

Considered one of the game's promising young forwards after an impressive 54-point rookie campaign, Mueller's career took a sudden downward spiral in January of 2009. After sustaining a concussion which sidelined him for seven games, his production dropped drastically, finishing with only six points (one goal) the final 24 games of the season.

Things didn't improve this season, as Mueller only registered 17 points in his 54 games with the Coyotes, and was even a healthy scratch at times. Dating back to the 2008-2009 season, Mueller only scored five goals his final 80 games as a Coyote—not exactly the production expected from a guy who scored 22 as a rookie.

Enter Colorado.

Looking to deal away a struggling player of their own, Avalanche management decided the 21-year-old Mueller was worth the risk. At the very least, they wouldn't be stuck paying Wojtek Wolski more money than he's worth, or risk losing him for nothing—a problem the Coyotes may deal with this summer, as Wolski is up for arbitration.

But, Mueller has greatly exceeded expectations in his first six games as an Avalanche. Playing left wing on a line with Matt Duchene and playing the left point on the top power play unit, Mueller has scored two goals and six assists, registering at least a point in every game he's played.

Or, in other words, picking up where he left off before the concussion.

Things have worked out well for Phoenix also, as Wolski and Phoenix's other numerous deadline acquisitions (namely Lee Stempniak) have led Phoenix to a 5-0-0 record post-trade deadline.