Welcome to Last Word on Hockey’s One-Hit Wonder series. Each day, we will take a look at a new team’s three biggest one-hit wonders. These are players that had one great season or playoff run but never did anything like that again. Join us every day for a new team! Today we take a look at the Arizona Coyotes One-Hit Wonders.
Top Three Arizona Coyotes One-Hit Wonders
Peter Mueller was the then Phoenix Coyotes sixth overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry draft. He signed a standard three-year entry-level contract worth $850,000 AAV with the team. The team was excited to have drafted him after two successful seasons in the WHL playing for the Everett Silvertips. He accomplished 47 goals and 89 assists in 103 games. The 6’2″, 204 pound forward from Bloomington, Minnesota was going to the NHL. His head coach would be Wayne Gretzky who tried to mentor the young player.
Mueller’s first season during the 2007-08 season in the NHL was exceptional. He finished fifth in the Calder Trophy voting for rookie of the year. Mueller was selected as rookie of the month in January of 2008. He scored two hat tricks during his debut season.
Over 81 games, Mueller tallied 22 goals and 32 assists good for 54 points. He was outstanding on the power play scoring seven goals and assisting on 15 others.
After the Wonder
Mueller’s first season was followed by an average season where he gathered just 13 goals and 23 assists in 72 games. The Coyotes then decided that they had seen enough of Mueller and traded him to the Colorado Avalanche for Kevin Porter and Wojtek Wolski. He actually performed very well in 15 games for the Avalanche scoring nine goals and 11 assists. The team signed him to a two-year $4 million deal.
His success was short-lived as he sustained a devastating head injury in a game against the San Jose Sharks on April 4, 2012. The following season he only participated in 32 games with seven goals and nine assists due to the injury.
The Florida Panthers signed him as a free agent in July of 2012. They gave him a one-year deal worth $1.725 million. He played 43 games with eight goals and nine assists. The injury pretty much ended his NHL career. He went on to play in Europe and played for the Czech Extraliga, the highest level league in the Czech Republic where he scored 24 goals and 24 assists in 43 games during the 2018-19 season.
It’s easy to see why Peter Mueller was one of the Arizona Coyotes one-hit wonders.
Michael Stone, 30 was the Phoenix Coyotes 69th overall selection in the 2008 draft. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native tallied 24 goals and 72 assists in 324 games in Arizona. He was a physical player standing 6′-3″, 210 pounds. He collected 695 hits which equated to 2.15 hits a game.
During his 2015-16 year Stone managed his best season in the league. He collected six goals and 30 assists for 36 points. He was awesome on the power play contributing 14 assists. Stone averaged 22:29 minutes of ice time, which was his best in his nine-year career. He had a 0.48 points per game average which showed he was more of an offensive defenceman. His career Corsi For was not exceptional with just a 47.9 rating. His Relative Corsi wasn’t great either with a -2.9.
After the Wonder
After Stone only managed one goal and eight assists in 45 games during the 2016-17 season, the Coyotes traded him to the Calgary Flames in February of 2017. In return they received two draft picks. Stone missed quite a few games due to a blood clot discovered in November of 2018. He didn’t return to the lineup until March of 2019.
When he did return he was mostly a healthy scratch. In August of 2019, the Flames bought out the final year of his three-year $10.5 million contract. He then re-signed with the club in September for a mere $700,000 deal for one year. It is unknown if he will be with Calgary next season as he will be an unrestricted free agent.
Bob Essensa was the Winnipeg Jets 69th overall pick in the 1983 draft. Back then the 69th pick was in the fourth round. Essensa, a Toronto native had a 12-year NHL career. During his years he collected a 173-176-47-18 record. Back then ties were allowed and Essensa had 47 of them. His career save percentage was .895 and he had a 3.15 goals-against-average. That may sound like mediocre numbers but don’t forget goals were scored at a much higher rate back then.
Essensa had his best year during the 1991-92 season when he played his best hockey as a goalie. He had a 21-17-6 record and a .910 save percentage. Essensa’s 2.88 goals-against-average was one of his best, while he also added five shutouts which led the NHL. He also was fourth in voting to be in the All-Star game. Essensa was third in voting for the Vezina Trophy awarded to the best goalie each season. He even finished 13th in the Hart Trophy voting. Not bad at all.
After the Wonder
Essensa played for three teams before he arrived on the Coyotes roster in 1999 after signing as a free agent. His record in Arizona was nothing exceptional, yet respectable. He registered a 13-10-3 record with a .898 save percentage carrying a 2.78 goals-against-average during the 1999-00 season. He was mostly used as a backup to starter Sean Burke.
After his good season in 1991-92, he faltered to a record of 132-129-35. He signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks and finally with the Buffalo Sabres before announcing his retirement on September 10, 2002.
Nowadays Essensa is a goalie coach with the Boston Bruins. It’s a position he’s held since 2003. On March 28, 2015, Essensa, at age 50, was dressed as a backup goalie for the Bruins during their game against the New York Rangers after Tuukka Rask left the game in the second period due to suspected dehydration.