The St. Louis Jr. Bluesof the North American 3 Hockey League (3HL) are proud to announce that defensman Paul O'Connor and forward Johnny Mueller have made the 30-man roster for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League for next season.
O'Connor began the season with the Affton Americans U18 CSHDL team and slowly worked his way into the line-up and then as an everyday player. By the end of the season, the 16 year old rookie was charged with shutting down the opposing team's top line. He got his chance with the RoughRiders when he spent two days skating with the team at the end of this season. He returned to St. Louis with a tender offer in hand.
Head Coach JP Beilsten said, "The tender was a big deal. It represented an investment in Paul on behalf of the Cedar Rapids organization. By offering the tender, they lost one of their first two draft picks in this year's draft and guaranteed him playing time next season. They didn't take it likely and they were looking for a firm commitment. Paul was ready and excited to sign and according to their staff he played well this weekend."
Mueller was a non-drafted or tendered invitee to the camp. The strong, quick forward was an early season pick-up by the Jr. Blues. Says Beilsten, "A lot of teams missed on this kid this year. He has everything you would want in a player; strength, speed, great hands, a hard shot, and a player that will do whatever he can to help his team win."
Mueller played for Beilsten in high school, so he knew what Johnny brought to the rink. He continued, "Johnny had sever USHL teams asking about him prior to the draft. We have developed a nice relationship with Cedar Rapids over the last couple of years so he was an open invite and made the 30-man roster. His work is not done, and he knows that, but he is more than willing to put in the work to insure he sticks and plays next season."