Jumping from just inside our Top 20 at Number 18 in 2017 all the way to Number 4, Alina Müller is one of the most accomplished young players in the game before she even starts her freshman year at college.
With excellent skating and a seemingly lightning-fast wrist shot she's a rising star who is going to dominate the womens leagues for years to come.
2018 was a banner year for Muller. After being the youngest-ever hockey player to win an Olympic medal in Sochi at just 15 years old, she returned at 19 to lead the competition in both points and goals as well as being named the Top Forward in the 2018 tournament. She had a breathtaking four-goal game against Unified Korea, capturing the hearts of the hockey world.
Averaging a massive 23 minutes per game throughout the tournament, Müller was a constant factor on the Swiss first line which included Evelina Raselli and Lara Stalder. The trio put up nine goals at even strength as well as a further three on the power play — seven of which would belong to Müller.
Additionally with her natural hat trick during the first game of the tournament, Müller cemented herself into the record books with the second fastest hat trick in Olympic History with three goals in just 9 minutes and 25 second, trailing only Caroline Ouellette’s efforts against Italy in 2006.
That wasn’t all for Müller. After the Olympics, she returned to compete for the championship in the Swiss Women’s League, helping the Lionesses take the Championship for the third time in as many years. Müller scored three goals in the final game to secure the win. She had the type of season that feels insane to write about taking out the SWHL awards for the most goals and most points both in the regular season as well as in playoffs. That combined with her Olympic performance should make it no surprise that she was named the Swiss Ice Hockey Women of the Year.
For the two time Olympian what’s next isn’t necessarily the pressure of international play. Instead it’s the jump to North America, as Müller will suit up for Northeastern University in Boston this coming season committing to them back in November of last year.
Northeastern was already ranked 8th in the nation according to both USA Today and USCHO.com at the culmination of the 2017-18 season and, with Muller joining a line up that already includes Kasidy Anderson, Tori Sullivan, and Veronika Pettey, there is no where to go but up. It’s a combination of those four players that Northeastern will be hoping can earn them a frozen four berth after losing out to Colgate in the Semi-Finals last season.
Internationally, we have already seen Müller step up more on the international stage for Switzerland, but with National Team goaltender Florence Schelling retiring it’s a squad thats going to rely on her fire power more than ever.
Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low
Some part of Müller’s ranking can definitely be attributed to her stellar performance at the Olympics the fact embedded itself in everyone hockey conscious. But when she is scoring goals that look like that who can really blame us.
Playing NCAA hockey won’t make or break Müller as a great hockey player. But it will give us a chance to see her to play against opponents her own age, and for more eyes to be on her more often. It should also give her an opportunity to develop further, playing against the likes of fellow Olympian Cayla Barnes who plays defence for Boston College within the WHEA.
So does she deserve her place? Yes. In my opinion Müller is one of those once in a lifetime generational talents who’s vision and skill on the ice is almost impossible to put into words. She pulls off the impossible game after game and at only 20 she should already be in the conversation for not just as one of the best players under the age of 25, but as one of the best players in the world.