Breaking our streak of North American players, Alina Müller comes in at Number 18 on our list. Skating on Switzerland’s top line, the 19-year-old forward has accomplished a great deal in international play and looks to do more this upcoming season.
In 2014 at age 15, Müller made her debut as the third-youngest hockey player to ever appear at the Winter Olympics. To put it in perspective, she played against those twice her age in the first round.
Despite a rough (and expected) start in the Games against Canada, the U.S., and Finland, the Swiss ended up upsetting Sweden and taking bronze at Sochi. For Müller, the moment was even more special, as her empty-net goal ended up as the game winner. That bronze medal earned her the distinction of being the youngest ice hockey player to win an Olympic medal.
Following the high of those Olympics, the Swiss team has struggled in international play, barely surviving relegation the past two years. Still, Müller has thrived next to teammate Lara Stalder. She won the World Championship Top 3 Player on Team Award in the latest tournament after she and Stalder each scored four goals, combining for eight of the 15 Swiss goals. Overall, she came in sixth on the Scoring Leaders list. For Switzerland, Müller has been invaluable.
Müller has mostly played on boys’ teams in the past. She cited The Kloten Flyers U17 club as helping her prepare for the intensity of international play. However, she has spent some time in the SWHL with the ZSC (Zürcher Schlittschuh Club) Lions women’s team, and for the upcoming season, she will be rejoining the Lionesses to add to their firepower.
“I'm really looking forward to the new challenge with the ZSC women. I decided to go to Zürich because I already know a lot of players and I go to school in Zürich. I want to improve my game even more with regard to the women's hockey and be with the team champion,” Müller says.
Her drive and motivation to be the best will come in handy for Team Switzerland. As they look to prove that bronze in the Olympics was no fluke, Müller will face pressure to continue producing at a fast and high level. Perhaps it is unfair, but she may need to bear a large portion of the weight of Team Switzerland’s hopes and dreams.
Is this ranking too high or too low
Müller is consistently one of the top goal scorers for Team Switzerland. Whether it is in the World Championships or the Olympics, the pressure for Müller to perform has only increased. She and Stalder are tasked with leading the charge for the Swiss. Still, the previous statement is perhaps the reason Müller ranks in the bottom half of the list. There is no question she is overshadowed by her superstar teammate Stalder, who has the benefit of exposure from playing in the NCAA for Minnesota-Duluth. Nevertheless, the two of them make a fearsome line for Team Switzerland.