SAN JOSE -- Defenseman Mirco Mueller, the Sharks' first round draft choice this earlier year, practiced with the team for the first time in training camp Sunday after sitting out the first three days with a sore back.
Mueller's first practice just happened to coincide with the Sharks' most physical skate of camp so far. But Mueller came out of it well and was happy to get the initial experience of playing with NHL players for the first time out of the way.
"First thing I noticed was they practiced really hard and really fast," said Mueller, whose already sore back was aggravated by a cross check in the Sharks' first game of the YoungStars Tournament against Vancouver in British Columbia earlier this month. "It was a really high pace today and it felt good to get back out there."
Mueller, who is 6-foot-3 and listed as 195 pounds, isn't expected to make the team out of camp as the Sharks already have several defensemen with NHL experience vying for the one of the final spots. But Mueller, whose style has been compared to that of Marc Edouard-Vlasic, is soaking in as much as he can right now from the other blueliners.
"I just want to play my best hockey," said Mueller, a Swiss native who was drafted out of Everett (Wash.) of the WHL. "The rest is up to management and the coaches. I just want to do my best and see what happens."
Sharks coach Todd McLellan was pleased with Mueller's performance Sunday, especially considering the ice time Mueller has missed.
"As a young player, you can't afford to miss time. You want to be healthy," McLellan said. "The good thing is he's been involved in all of the meetings, the video sessions, so he's at last got the instruction, but the ability to apply it is real important. You want to stay healthy and stay on your toes."