Senior forward Nicolas Müller and Michigan State hockey announced the news Thursday morning that the team’s leading point-scorer will return to MSU for a fifth season.
Müller, who led Michigan State in points (34) and assists (25), was one of the many players to record career-best numbers in head coach Adam Nightingale’s first season with the Spartans. In his first three seasons with MSU, Müller produced just 23 points (six goals, 17 assists), but needed just until the first week of February to match that point total this season. The 34 points are the most by a Spartan since the 2018-19 season.
His nine goals in 2022-23 are also triple his previous season-high of three set during his freshman season. Two of those nine came March 5 at Notre Dame in a win that gave MSU its first Big Ten Tournament series win in program history.
“I have always been proud to be a Spartan and I’m really excited to for the opportunity to come back next season and help our team take another step,” Müller said in a statement. “I’m really looking forward to next season with Coach Nightingale, the staff, and my teammates.”
Müller was a mainstay as the Spartans’ second line center, particularly catching fire in the second half of the season and once paired with senior forward Erik Middendorf and junior forward Jeremy Davidson at his wings. He had at least one point in eight of the last 13 games of the season, including four games with multiple points. Müller also adds value on the penalty kill too and was second on the team with a .145 shot percentage.
“We are very excited that Nico has decided to return to our program for another year,” Nightingale said in the same statement. “His selfless approach and unique work ethic will help continue our programs upward trajectory. He worked incredibly hard to have a breakout season, and helped us build the foundation for the success we would like to have year-over-year at Michigan State. We feel super fortunate that Nico wants to be a part of our next steps forward.“
It’s the second time in the last three seasons that a senior led the Spartans in points and opted to return for a fifth season to follow it up. Two years ago, forward Mitchell Lewandowski led MSU with 13 points in 27 games and played a fifth season with the Spartans last year, where he was on pace to lead Michigan State in points had he not missed extended time with an injury.
Müller is one of the two graduating seniors with an extra year of eligibility remaining. The other, senior forward Jagger Joshua, has yet to announce his plans for next season.
Michigan State has eight other graduating seniors on its roster, all of whom will need to be replaced in the coming months. Middendorf, though a senior, does not have an extra year of eligibility because he was not playing college hockey during the 2020-21 pandemic season.