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2019 Women’s Hockey Top 25 Under 25 | No. 3: Alina Müller

If you were going to design a player in a lab, they’d probably turn out like Müller

Michelle Jay

The Swiss forward has long been heralded as one of the best young players on the planet, and she ranked No. 4 on The Ice Garden’s Top 25 Under 25 list last year. After a great freshman season with Northeastern, she cemented her place in the top three for this year’s rankings.

Past accomplishments

At just 21 years old, Müller is already a sensation in international play, with two Olympic Games and multiple World Championships under her belt. Back in 2014, when she was just 15, she scored the game-winning empty-net goal to help Switzerland to its first-ever Olympic bronze medal. Four years later, at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, she tied a record with four goals in a single game and earned Best Forward honors for the tournament, with seven goals and 10 points in six games played.

She was also a standout in the Swiss Women’s Hockey League as a teenager, helping the Zurich Lions to the championship and winning Woman of the Year at the Swiss Ice Hockey Awards for the 2017-18 season. The stream of accolades did not slow down once she came to Northeastern, either. She put together one of the most accomplished rookie seasons in memory and made an immediate impact for the Huskies.

Müller’s 51-point freshman campaign makes her just the second player in program history to hit the 50-point mark as a rookie. She led the country with a 22-game scoring streak this season, which spanned from Oct. 6 to Jan. 19, and took home Hockey East’s Rookie of the Year award. She was also named a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-10 Finalist, CCM/AHCA Second Team All-American, Hockey East First Team All-Star, and New England Hockey Writers Division I All-Star. She was also once again named Swiss Ice Hockey’s Woman of the Year for 2019.

Future impact

Simply put, Müller projects as a future best player in the world. She has, without any hesitation, dominated at every single level she’s played at, and she’s only going to continue to get better.

She is extraordinarily sound technically, and a very good option up the middle, making her a valuable possession player in all three zones. She was a whiz for Northeastern in the faceoff circle, winning 57.7% of her draws as the team’s top-line center. And once she’s got control of the puck, there’s almost zero doubt that she’s going to make the right play to drum up a scoring chance or get it on net.

She thinks the game at an extremely high level, and has the physical tool set to execute to that level. Quick-tap passes or cuts through a seam that would take most any other player too long to think through often look as though they’re second-nature to Müller. She is that rare player who combines subtle, textbook play with ingenuity and nerve. She can pull off brilliant bits of stickhandling and skating without making it look flashy at all.

And her shot is just wicked.

Like, stupid good.

It adds a whole different dynamic to her game, because opponents have to respect that she can score from anywhere. And when she doesn’t have a clear shot, she’ll make a play for someone else to put it home.

Müller has done it all already. She helped her country to an Olympic medal as a 15-year-old (the youngest player ever to do so). She contributed to a championship-winning team in the SWHL while leading the league in scoring. And upon entering the NCAA, she immediately slotted in as a first-line player and led her team to another league championship. Her future impact will essentially be more of the same: one of the most dangerous players on the ice in any game, who will play a major role in title runs and international competition.

Also: lots and lots of happy goal celebrations.

Is this ranking too high or too low?

Müller is coming in at No. 3 on this list, so it’s clear that the voters hold her in high regard. But with all due respect to the two players ahead of her, anything but No. 1 is too low.