Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Kirk Muller
If not for a fellow from Laval by the name of Mario Lemieux, all the vast, non-stop media attention would have been focused squarely on Guelph's Kirk Muller leading up to the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. As it was, Muller certainly received his fair share of accolades and was selected second overall by the New Jersey Devils behind Lemieux, who of course was taken first overall by Pittsburgh. It had also been considered one of the best draft years in recent history, which gave further credibility to Muller's star status. Other notable first rounders that year included; Ed Olczyk, Al Iafrate, Shayne Corson and Gary Roberts.

Muller enjoyed a stellar junior career, which started with two games as a 14-year-old with his hometown Kingston Canadians in 1980-81. As a 15-year-old underage player, Muller made the Canadians and suited up for 67 games, scoring 51 points. Because he was underage, junior rules stipulated Muller had to enter the official junior draft and was taken by the Guelph Platers where he continued his excellent offensive play, notching 52 goals and 112 points in 62 games.

In 1983-84, the 18-year-old Muller was again having a sensational offensive year with the Platers in the Ontario Hockey League, and finished with 94 points despite playing in just 49 games. The balance of his year was spent with the Canadian National Team, where he suited up for 15 pre-Olympic games. Muller then dressed for all six of Canada's Olympic contests in Sarajevo, scoring two goals and an assist but the team returned home disappointed, failing to medal.

Although Muller still had two years of junior eligibility remaining, it was clear to the Guelph Platers that they were not going to have their star captain back in the lineup. Muller easily made the New Jersey Devils roster and in his rookie season appeared in all 80 games, recording 54 points on a talent-depleted team where he had very little offensive support. Muller was the model of consistency, not only steadily improving his offensive statistics in each of his first four years in New Jersey, but he proved to be extremely resilient, missing just four games in seven seasons with the team. His best offensive year came in 1987-88 when he had 94 points.

In September, 1991 Muller was part of a huge trade that had him and goalie Roland Melanson traded to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Stephane Richer and Tom Chorske. Although initially shocked at being traded, Muller was quoted as saying "It was time for a change. It's nice to be in the midst of a good hockey atmosphere." Muller quickly established himself as the team leader on and off the ice and he was named captain of the Canadiens. During his second year in Montreal in 1992-93, Muller matched his career high with 94 points and, along with goalie Patrick Roy and winger John LeClair guided the Habs to an unexpected Stanley Cup championship, defeating Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings in five games.

Less than two years after that magical run to the Stanley Cup, many Montreal Canadiens fans were stunned by the announcement Muller had been traded to the New York Islanders in a package deal which also sent Mathieu Schneider and Craig Darby to Long Island in return for Pierre Turgeon and Vladimir Malakhov in April, 1995. If it was a shock to fans, the news just about floored Muller, who was totally taken aback by the news. Montreal had given him his greatest joy and also was the scene of his biggest heartbreak. Teammate Denis Savard said tears welled up in Muller's eyes when he faced a throng of reporters and categorized his friend as being "devastated." But Muller, always the consummate professional, gained his composure when talking to the media. "I'm shocked, but it's a business," he noted. "I enjoyed it here, but life goes on."

Muller's time in New York was likely the most upsetting of his career and he spent just 27 tumultuous games with the Islanders. The main crux of the problem was a nasty contract dispute which arose between Muller and the Islanders. Upon being traded from the Canadiens, Muller lost a substantial amount of money and wanted to renegotiate. The Islanders flatly refused unless he was willing to sign a long-term deal. After a long-term bitter stalemate, the Islanders sent Muller to the Toronto Maple Leafs in January, 1997 and he felt as if his career had been given a new lease on life. But the experiment was a disappointment and Muller was again sent packing after just over one year with the Maple Leafs. He was sent to the struggling Florida Panthers. Muller played to the best of his abilities, but on a talent-depleted team it was evident Muller, at 33, was not going to be the cornerstone for a turnaround.

After sitting out the first part of the 1999-00 season, pondering his future, Muller signed a free-agent contract with the defending Stanley Cup champion Dallas Stars, who had been hit by several injuries. He seemed rejuvenated playing on a legitimate contender and was a key contributor down the stretch and through the playoffs where the Stars advanced to the Cup finals, but were turned back in their quest for a repeat by the New Jersey Devils.

Although he is no longer the dominant offensive force he was in his younger days, Muller has successfully transformed his game and became a solid defensive specialist. In 2001-02, the six-time NHL All-Star still managed to contribute ten goals and 30 points in 78 games with the Stars before injuries limited the Kingston native to a mere 55 games in 2002-03.

On September 2, 2003 Kirk Muller officially announced his retirement. Throughout his playing career the Kingston, ON native played in 1349 games registering 357 goals and 602 assists for 959 points.

Although retired officially from hockey, it didn't take long for Muller to find himself back in the game. On June 20, 2006 he was announced to become an assistant coach of the Montreal Canadiens under head coach and former teammate
Guy Carbonneau.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1980-81 Kingston Voyageurs ON-Jr.B 42 17 37 54 5
1980-81 Kingston Canadians OMJHL 2 0 0 0 0
1981-82 Kingston Canadians OHL 67 12 39 51 27 4 5 1 6 4
1982-83 Guelph Platers OHL 66 52 60 112 41
1983-84 Guelph Platers OHL 49 31 63 94 27
1983-84 Canada WJC-A 7 2 1 3 16
1983-84 Canada Nat-Tm 15 2 2 4 16
1983-84 Canada Olympics 6 2 1 3 0
1984-85 New Jersey Devils NHL 80 17 37 54 69 -31
1984-85 Canada WEC-A 10 2 2 4 12
1985-86 New Jersey Devils NHL 77 25 41 66 45 -20
1985-86 Canada WEC-A 9 4 3 7 12
1986-87 New Jersey Devils NHL 79 26 50 76 75 -7
1986-87 NHL All-Stars RV-87 2 0 0 0 0
1986-87 Canada WEC-A 10 2 0 2 8
1987-88 New Jersey Devils NHL 80 37 57 94 114 +19 20 4 8 12 37
1988-89 New Jersey Devils NHL 80 31 43 74 119 -23
1988-89 Canada WEC-A 9 6 4 10 6
1989-90 New Jersey Devils NHL 80 30 56 86 74 -1 6 1 3 4 11
1990-91 New Jersey Devils NHL 80 19 51 70 76 +1 7 0 2 2 10
1991-92 Montreal Canadiens NHL 78 36 41 77 86 +15 11 4 3 7 31
1992-93 Montreal Canadiens NHL 80 37 57 94 77 +8 20 10 7 17 18
1993-94 Montreal Canadiens NHL 76 23 34 57 96 -1 7 6 2 8 4
1994-95 Montreal Canadiens NHL 33 8 11 19 33 -21
1994-95 New York Islanders NHL 12 3 5 8 14 +3
1995-96 New York Islanders NHL 15 4 3 7 15 -10
1995-96 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 36 9 16 25 42 -3 6 3 2 5 0
1996-97 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 66 20 17 37 85 -23
1996-97 Florida Panthers NHL 10 1 2 3 4 -2 5 1 2 3 4
1997-98 Florida Panthers NHL 70 8 21 29 54 -14
1998-99 Florida Panthers NHL 82 4 11 15 49 -11
1999-00 Dallas Stars NHL 47 7 15 22 24 -3 23 2 3 5 18
2000-01 Dallas Stars NHL 55 1 9 10 26 -4 10 1 3 4 12
2001-02 Dallas Stars NHL 78 10 20 30 28 -12
2002-03 Dallas Stars NHL 55 1 5 6 18 -6 12 1 1 2 8
NHL Totals 1349 357 602 959 1223 127 33 36 69 153


Played in NHL All-Star Game (1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993) Traded to Montreal by New Jersey with Roland Melanson for Stephane Richer and Tom Chorske, September 20, 1991. Traded to NY Islanders by Montreal with Mathieu Schneider and Craig Darby for Pierre Turgeon and Vladimir Malakhov, April 5, 1995. Traded to Toronto by NY Islanders with Don Beaupre to complete transaction that sent Damian Rhodes and Ken Belanger to NY Islanders (January 23, 1996), January 23, 1996. Traded to Florida by Toronto for Jason Podollan, March 18, 1997. Signed as a free agent by Dallas, December 15, 1999. Claimed by Columbus from Dallas in Waiver Draft, September 28, 2001. Traded to Dallas by Columbus for the rights to Evgeny Petrochinin, September 28, 2001.
Officialy announced his retirement, September 2, 2003.