SAN JOSE -- The Sharks, pleased with the progress defenseman Mirco Mueller has made at the junior level, assigned him to their American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester.

Mueller, the organization's top prospect who was selected 18th overall in last year's draft, was assigned to the AHL after the Everett Silvertips were eliminated from the Western Hockey League playoffs by Seattle. For the Silvertips this season, Mueller had five goals and 27 points in 60 games, and was a plus-1 with 27 penalty minutes.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Mueller, 19, has drawn comparisons to Sharks defenseman Marc -Edouard Vlasic for his above-average skating and his ability to move the puck.

"He's a world-class skater," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson. "His hockey sense — he's very mature in how he plays the game. He fits with how the game is playing being played in this league right now. We have very high expectations for him."

Wilson said Mueller is progressing the way the teams wants him to and will be a part of the team's development camp this summer.

Mueller's participation in the Sharks' training camp in the fall was hampered by a sore back, which was aggravated in the YoungStars Tournament in British Columbia in early September.

Because if his age, Mueller will not be eligible to start the season in Worcester next season, so either he will make the Sharks out of training camp or get sent back to Everett.


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For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks.