Over lunch yesterday, a friend and I began talking about Mitchell Moroz. I said “well, the thing about Milan Lucic is that he can take and make a pass and the play doesn’t die on his stick” and my buddy (who posts here often ) chuckled “why do people always use Lucic? He’s the ultimate outlier.”

Which is true. Milan Lucic is scoring at a clip John Ferguson couldn’t manage, and the big Vancouver kid scored 30 goals and a point per game the year after he was drafted. That’s lightning in a bottle stuff, and predicting the next Lucic is a fool’s game.

When we talk about comps for Mitchell Moroz–and I don’t think we can really look at this until season’s end, when we have a complete season (at 18) from him–then using more reasonable comps like Mike Bloom is probably a fair way to proceed.

  • Lucic at 18 (WHL) 70, 30-38-68 on a team that scored 3.40 gpg
  • Bloom at 18 (OHA) 58, 20-33-53 on a team that scored 5.53 gpg
  • Moroz at 18 (WHL) 15, 3-6-9 on  a team that is projected to score 3.73 gpg

Lucic is at a point-per-game on a team that scored fewer goals than Moroz’ Oil Kings are projected to do this season. Bloom also scored more, but in a more dynamic offensive era and on a team with Marcel Dionne as its star.

Over the next few months, we should add some possible comps and run them through the exercise above. And we should also agree that if Moroz has a “Mike Bloom” career that’s a win.


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42 Responses to "“ULTIMATE OUTLIER”"

  1. jp says:

    Very true that Lucic is an extreme outlier. Still, a Bloom career for Moroz doesn’t seem too satisfying to me.

    Came across this interesting piece this morning:

    I haven’t had time to read it closely (got stuff to do this morning), but it looks sound. It tracks the success of players drafted between 1988 and 1997 and has some breakdowns by round and by player position.

    Forwards drafted in the 1st Rd had a 35% chance of playing 200G, while 2nd round Fs had only an 18% chance of getting to 200GP. For all positions, 1st rounders averaged 482GP, while 2nd rounders averaged 192GP. From these numbers, a Bloom-like career for Moroz would be about average for his draft position (or a bit below given that he was an early 2nd rd pick).

    I’m not convinced we should consider a “Mike Bloom career” a win, but certainly it’s not a complete fail. Gotta exceed expectation (and play more than 3 NHL seasons) to be considered a win.

    Some interesting things about success of the different player positions too – 1st round G and D may not be as unpredictable as we think…

  2. DSF says:


  3. Reg Dunlop says:

    I think Mcloud better get out of that phonebooth. ‘Duel’ is a classic.

    I think the best we can hope for young Mitch is to fill a role like Kevin McClelland, fourth line toughness and some timely goals.

  4. regwald says:

    Terry Jones retweeted the following this morning:

    Tyler Bunz ‏@tylerbunz

    Welcomed the new roommate Kristians Pelss today . Glad to have the little Latvian as a roommate for a few weeks. #englishonly

    Looks like Pelss draws the short straw and is ECHL bound with Taylor Hall coming off IR.

  5. jake70 says:

    Little trivia…..that scene of Weaver in the booth, moments before that still, when he first enters the booth and he is getting/inserting his change, you can see a very young Spielberg in the reflection at the bottom right corner of the glass pane, right where the brown phone assembly is. Great film, great scene from the movie.

  6. franksterra says:


    staying in ‘directors caught in reflection’ trivia territory if I may, in The Godfather Part II the young De Niro Vito Corleone is riding in a delivery truck in his NYC neighborhood when the local corrupt Don jumps on board to have a word. The truck is filmed passing by from the crowded sidewalk, and as it passes you can clearly see Coppola for a second, reflected in the truck glass

  7. FrankenOil says:

    Just came across this on Twitter:

    Lee Jones ‏@Lee_JonesCTV
    Terrible news about former Regina Pat Brandon Davidson. Undergoing treatment for testicular cancer.

    Awful news.

  8. FrankenOil says:

    More information via the Oilers website:


  9. Moosemess says:

    I suspect the Oilers are more enticed at the prospect of Moroz being able to play the role of the big rig barreling down on the unsuspecting phone booth as opposed to whether he can ‘take or make’ a pass. It’s a role he’s well suited for.

    Agreed on Lucic as outlier. There are far better comps for what Moroz should become in the bigs. Joey Kocur, Darren McCarty, Randy McKay, Brad May, etc.

    This is a not player expected to lead or compliment the breakout. This is a player expected to get in hard on the forecheck, work the cycle down low and generally make life miserable in the crease for opposition D and goalies. Watch the play away from the puck. If you do, you will see Moroz doing a LOT of the dirty work that contributes towards a winning hockey team.

    Could he have been had in later rounds? We’ll never know, but I suspect ‘where’ he was drafted will always be muddied with the question of ‘why’ he was drafted for pundits who don’t value this particular player type.

    Fun to see that the Oil are giving fans the opp to compare 2nd rounders on a nightly basis with the acquisition of Musil. Went to last Sunday’s game against the Giants and it was quite apparent that the Oil Kings enjoy punishing the opposition and the teams lower down the standings simply don’t have a taste for paying that price. Musil stood out as one of the few on the Giants willing to step up. Will be fun to watch him in Oil King silks.

  10. FrankenOil says:

    In regards to Moroz,

    Seems like the points are starting to come after a very slow start. His ppg pace is already up on last year. I think we are passing judgement based on a small sample size this year (same goes for Lander). I’ll be more alarmed after game 30 for Moroz if he is on a 15 goal pace.

  11. JorgeR04 says:

    In five years from now, how will the three 31st overalls rank as players Musil, Pitlick, Moroz?

    At the time, who was the better pick ie draft depth etc.?

  12. Moosemess says:

    One of the things I’ve noticed on the Oilogosphere (that’s a thing, right?) is a little phenomenon I like to call ‘puck carrier’ bias.

    It’s a perception that evaluates players weighted heavily towards what the player does solely when the puck is on his stick, whilst seemingly ignoring the impact that players can make in other areas like hitting the opposition, running a pick, screening the goaltender, redirecting shots, clearing the slot, forcing a bad pass on the forecheck, etc.

    It works wonderfully well for fans who focus almost exclusively on the puck carrier when watching a game (I would suspect this is the majority of the audience). Those with puck carrier bias are wonderfully impressed by players effective at stickhandling and to a lesser extent passing, and are suitably unimpressed by players who don’t dominate in those particular disciplines, often underrating or outright failing to see contributions of this latter group elsewhere on the ice.

    Fans with puck carrier bias will find a lot to like in the contributions of players like Hagman, Siltanen, Hemsky, Gilbert, Laleggia, Nilsson, Gagner, Vishnovsky, etc. and may fail to see their deficiencies away from the puck. Conversely, they will not see a lot to like in the works of players like Hunter, McClelland, Lindgren, J Smith, Sutton, R Jones, Eager, Moroz, etc. feeling their deficiencies as puck carriers make them liabilities or at the very least, fails to make up for their proficiences in other areas.

    The reason I’ve called it ‘puck carrier’ bias as opposed to ‘skill bias’ is primarly to address this perception that the ability to ‘make or take a pass’ is somehow the only skill that matters in the game of hockey.

    First, I think a winning hockey team is composed of a number of complimentary skill sets, all working in unison to support a common goal. Sometimes that goal requires the application of a sublime pass. Sometimes it requires brute force. Often, it requires a combination of the two.

    What do you folks think about this? Is this a legitimate bias?

    As a last aside, reading the opinions of posters deriding the players who don’t meet their ‘puck carrier’ expectations reminds me of the comments I often hear from accounting or operational staff who often grouse about the perks afforded senior marketing staff (like we somehow forced them to choose a boring profession that never involves sexy girls lol). In such comments, which are typically nothing more than veiled jealousy, are vain attempts to reinforce a bias that infers that quantifying or servicing the bottom line results of a company is of somehow more importance than generating the business/wealth in the first place.

    Just as companies with ineffective marketing departments tend to lose market share and thus overall competitiveness, I think it’s fair to speculate that teams built on the basis of ‘puck carrier’ bias alone would probably send a disproportionate share of reps to the all star game while failing to achieve any meaningful hardware. Teams, like companies, require the effective application of complimentary and often disparate skill sets. In many ways, ignoring the contributions of players away from the puck is like ignoring the contributions of that dedicated customer service rep or admin assistant. Yes, they’re not as integral as the CEO, but it’s amazing the impact it has when the org is strong from top to bottom.

  13. leadfarmer says:

    Not sure if this was mentioned earlier but here’s a little news on Davidson. Wish him the best of luck. Definitely treatable cancer even if not discovered early, but still would not want to have it.


  14. VOR says:

    1. Leadfarmer, Frankenoil,

    Thanks for link re Brandon Davidson. What a bad break for a young man who really deserves better. Hopefully he will recover fully.

    2. I have been looking for a comparable for Moroz and frankly finding it a little difficult. The closest fit I have found is Tie Domi. The thing is Moroz doesn’t fight as much as Domi, is faster, better defensively, and bigger. On the other hand they are similar offensively (to date and there is a small sample size problem).

    3. I have a new contender for the WOW trade – Brent Burns.

  15. commonfan14 says:

    VOR: 3. I have a new contender for the WOW trade – Brent Burns.

    The acquisition of a D-man who proudly sports a huge Harry Potter tattoo would be an interesting test for Oilers fans.

  16. stevezie says:


    There’s something to this, but lest we forget the puck carrying skills are the most important and difficult to teach in the game. Even if you argue the first point (which I doubt you will) the second seems self-evident. One might prefer Ryan Jones to Ales Hemsky, but there is no comparison as to which one is more difficult to replace.

  17. Marc says:

    Just to add a little context to the Moroz debate, there were 4 big CHL power forward prospects in TSN’s top 60 before the 2012 draft: Wilson (18), Samuelsson (36), Sutter (52) and Moroz (56). Their stats this season are as follows:
    GP G A P PIM
    Tom Wilson Plymouth Whalers 8 2 8 10 24
    Henrik Samuelsson Oil Kings 15 8 8 16 25
    Mitchell Moroz Edmonton Oil Kings 15 3 6 9 32
    Lukas Sutter Saskatoon Blades 15 2 1 3 36

  18. Marc says:

    It’s early, but it looks like Wilson and Samuelsson’s higher rankings were justified in light of their higher offensive production.

    And the Oilers look smart for picking Moroz over Sutter, notwithstanding the latter’s higher ranking on draft day (which it should be noted, was more substantial in the other scouting reports. Sutter’s rankings were NHL Central Scouting: 39 NAS, International Scouting Services: No. 68, The Hockey News: No. 63, Button’s Ranking: No. 45 whereas Moroz’s were NHL Central Scouting: 72 NAS, International Scouting Services: No. 170, The Hockey News: N/A Button’s Ranking: N/A).

  19. Moosemess says:


    There’s something to this, but lest we forgetthe puck carrying skills are the most important and difficult to teach in the game. Even if you argue the first point (which I doubt you will) the second seems self-evident. One might prefer Ryan Jones to Ales Hemsky, but there is no comparison as to which one is more difficult to replace.

    Fully agree. I’m not arguing for one over the other, but rather that both are necessary components for a complete roster replete with complimentary skill sets.

    In fact, this is what makes Lucic the true outlier as he’s neither one nor the other, but the rare hybrid of both.

    The corollary to this however is the belief that you draft skill players alone as the supposedly lesser skills can be easily acquired through other procurement means. I think the strategy however should be to draft players that will dominate within their respective roles (regardless of skillset) to create as many one-on-one favorable matchups as you can throughout the roster. In other words, if your choice at the draft is between a highly skilled player who projects as middling Top 6 forward (say Kristian Huselius) or a player who projects as a dominant defensive specialist with modest offensive upside (say John Madden), you take the player with the most potential for dominance in his role despite the puck carrier bias. By the same token, if there’s a wonderfully skilled offensive defenseman with massive coverage liabilities (say MA Bergeron) or an absolutely dominant shutdown D-man with minimal puck skills (say Regehr in his prime), you take Regher.

    There’s this belief postulated that you can mold failed offensive prospects into dominant defensive specialists or simply acquire the latter off the waiver wire, in FA, or by trading a surfeit of skill. Bollocks.

    It’s a nice fantasy, but the Patrice Bergeron, Kris Draper, Willie Mitchell and Brooks Orpiks of this league are typically homegrown and acquiring them for anything other than a premium is exceedingly difficult.

    A good example of this argument is the NFL combine. Every year there are potential draftees who score off the chart for their 40 time, vertical leap measurement, bench press, etc. (i.e. the quantifiable skills of the typical NFL stud) and every year many of these high ‘skill’ scores fail to translate into actual on field production or longterm employment. 6th round draft choice Tom Brady is the virtual poster boy for those arguing that intangibles DO matter and dominance can take many forms.

  20. jake70 says:

    Expos fans…. fomer Expos lollipop pitcher killed. LT, you told on a past thread the story of Perez getting lost on way to the ball park…..quite the character. RIP.


  21. stevezie says:


    Sure, but some of the bias has to do with how difficult it is to quanitify intangibles. The Oilers overvalued Riley Nash because they loved his psychological testing, which turns out not to have mattered very much. Lander is another recent example (who I still have hopes for, but must admit has translated very well yet.) The reason Tom Brady doesn’t go until the 6th, and John Madden doesn’t get drafted at all, is no one knows who is going to be the master of intanglibles until it happens. Payton Manning (or even Kristian Huselius) demonstrated quantifiable qualities like speed, strength, dexterity and reflexes when young. These traits are not perfect predictors of ultimate success, but it does give fans (and scouts) more to go on than tracking intangibles.

    Fact: Rob Brown was a very proficient scorer as a youth. Prediction: He might be one as an adult.

    Fact: Liam Reddox, John Madden, and me, Stevezie, were not elite offensive forwards or brilliant physical specimens as youths (Though they weren’t bad, let’s not kid around).
    Opinion: They are all loaded with intangibles (Try, heart, poise, leadership, tenacity etc.)
    Prediction: ???

    I don’t think I am really disagreeing with anything you are saying, except maybe that the puck-carrier bias is a bad thing. The puck carrier bias exists and will persist because it is often the best thing we have to go on.

  22. leadfarmer says:


    Didnt #99 always score at the bottom or near bottom of most physical attribute tests especially for strength?

    Didn’t like the Moroz pick, but I still like it better than Plante, Nash, and Lander. If he turns into a 3rd line player that is a handful this would be more than a successful pick. Didn’t like the Lander pick cause potential defensive 3rd line centers with limited offensive potential are not hard to come by. Plante I thought even if he made the NHL it wouldnt be at least until he’s 25 and in another town

  23. stevezie says:


    No, he was in phenominal shape and had otherwordly endurance. The breakdown of how many of his goals came in the third period was staggering.(My gym teacher used to trot it out in high school, I don’t have it on me).

    He was a ‘lil guy though, and not especially strong. When Lemiuex was a rookie he failed the Penguins strength test because he had a body like a cyclist, He got better when he got bigger but your point is still well taken.

    Still, while physical excellence is an imperfect predictor of hockey success, it tells us more than phyisical shittiness, right?

  24. VOR says:


    I am wondering what point you are trying to make with Patrice Bergeron who wasn’t drafted for his defensive prowess and actually has serious offence in the NHL? By the way neither Mitchell or Draper are homegrown and neither came at a high price to their second (and in Draper’s case, last) team. As far as I can tell only Orpik actually makes your point.

    I think there is a bias against players who are good away from the puck. Players who excel without the puck do probably go at a discount on draft day. Getting a top checking forward or shut down D that is already a proven talent is likely far more pricey than most people imagine. However, I don’t think your examples adequately demonstrate any of these points.


    I don’t think puck carrier bias is all you have to go on as a scout or GM. Character, hockey intelligence, and heart are testable and projectable. It just requires the drafting team to know a great deal about the prospect.

    The problem is that even with the combine (which the Oilers as LT has pointed out seem to like a lot as a predictor) the NHL is not a place where all things are known about all players. The Oilers may well know things about Moroz that the other teams don’t and those things may well have to do with intangibles or play away from the puck. If the Oilers are good at understanding which of these non-puck skill indicators matter at the NHL level they may have made the right pick with Moroz.

  25. stevezie says:


    I will clarify: intangibles can be known, but not as facts. We know Michael St Croix can score at the WHL level. We might have opinions on his character and heart, but we don’t objectively know.

    EDIT- Even defence is largely subjective. The Dave Tippet story about defenceman is well-known around here so I won’t repeat it, but I think it shows how much personal opinion goes into deciding whether or not someone is good at defence. Tom Gilbert’s Oiler career probably shows this better than anyone. Offence, on the other hand, is not purely objective (See Staples on Penner), but there are at least some cold facts involved.

  26. Moosemess says:


    I am wondering what point you are trying to make with Patrice Bergeron who wasn’t drafted for his defensive prowess and actually has serious offence in the NHL? By the way neither Mitchell or Draper are homegrown and neither came at a high price to their second (and in Draper’s case, last) team. As far as I can tell only Orpik actually makes your point.

    I think there is a bias against players who are good away from the puck. Players who excel without the puck do probably go at a discount on draft day. Getting a top checking forward or shut down D that is already a proven talent is likely far more pricey than most people imagine. However, I don’t think your examples adequately demonstrate any of these points.

    Ok, fair point on Bergeron. And too quick on my part to cite Draper and Mitchell.

    How about Gainey, Lehtinen, Orpik, Regeher. Does that do a better job reinforcing the point, on which we seemingly agree – other than my poor examples? Or were the Stars expecting Lethtinen to be the next Mike Bossy? If so, I’ll substitute Jay Pandolfo etc.

  27. RexLibris says:

    Really gutted hearing about Davidson. Young man had beaten some long odds already to be faced with this. I’ll be wishing him the best and hoping that he can recover, getting your future stolen from you by an illness can be devastating.

  28. Moosemess says:

    The nice thing for Oiler fans is there’s many ways to skin this cat. Lou Lamoriello won a trio of Cups by getting a saw-off with his Top 6, having a fairly ‘dominant’ Top 4 D & Bottom 6 Fs to win those opposition matchups, and most importantly, by having a truly dominant player at the most important position in terms of impacting wins.

    We spend a lot of time worrying about that Bottom 6 and Bottom 3 D when the Top 6 Forwards and Top 3 D could soon render that point moot as they trend towards ‘dominance.’ Serviceable parts in the lower ranks may be enough to get it done once the blue chippers go supernova.

    The truly impactful position where the Oilers fall short at the moment is between the pipes, and it’s here that I’m worried they intend to make the ‘WOW” trade, I’m an advocate of giving Dubie some more time. Tambi likely feels differently however with his job on the line.

  29. dessert1111 says:

    I know there are more important things than hockey in a man’s life, but does anyone know the likelihood that Davidson can recover and continue to play professionally? Having a career curtailed by cancer is one thing, but having it completely ended must be devastating. Can’t be an easy time for him; very, very sad news.

  30. stevezie says:


    With improved conditioning an tv timeouts depth players may be less essential than ever before. The Oil could concievably play their entire top 6 for twnety-two minutes a game each. Eberle penalty killing has a much lower oppurtunity cost when it means Yakupov gets more even strength time.

    It sucks about Davidson. I know Lance Armstrong isn’t the inspiration he once was, but his comeback still has to be some kind of ray of hope, right?

  31. VOR says:


    From the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the US:

    “Expectations (prognosis)

    Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable and curable cancers.

    The survival rate for men with early-stage seminoma (the least aggressive type of testicular cancer) is greater than 95%. The disease-free survival rate for Stage II and III cancers is slightly lower, depending on the size of the tumor and when treatment is begun.”

  32. VOR says:


    I guess where we disagree is that I think character, heart and hockey IQ can all be measured to some extent and thus aren’t truly intangible.

    Character and heart are partly about fitness; physical, mental, and emotional fitness. So if I knew somebodytaking part in the NHL Draft combine had an ungodly VO2 Max Peak, Max Duration, Wingate Peak, Fatigue Test and scored well on some of the body index tests I wouldn’t know for sure they weren’t just freaks of nature. However, if I knew they made odd decisions that put the interest of their teammates and country over their own I’d be thinking they were worth a late round draft pick. If I also knew they had gone to the NASA space station and said, “I can relate to outer space. I’ve been there before. In fact, I think it would be closer to home,” I’d be prepared to throw a fourth round draft choice at them.

    That being said, teams rarely have that much information. My point was that given Moroz was quite good in the testing at the combine and he is playing for a junior team the Oilers own they might know how he is about things like self-sacrifice, overcoming obstacles, etc. They might even know if outer space is closer to his home.

  33. nelson88 says:


    I believe Phil Kessel is another example of a guy who has come back from TC.

  34. leadfarmer says:

    Without knowing the specific cell type of cancer and the stage its hard to know the impact. If its early just removing the testicle aka orchiectomy is enough. If it has spread and it is a seminoma, just guessing given the age group and frequency, it is very responsive to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy itself can have long stading side effects. Overall most people win this battle, although he might find something more important to do with his life.

  35. Blackbyrd says:


    Brady’s an interesting example. Actually, Peyton himself kind of demonstrates the importance of intangibles. I’m pretty sure that every organization in every major sport considers them; some probably put too much emphasis on them, but I don’t think anyone could reasonably suggest that they should ever be ignored.

    Because despite the fact that he went #1 overall, Manning was not seen as being a slam-dunk pick, and there was a lot of speculation that Leaf might go first. Both are incredibly gifted athletes, but Leaf scored higher in almost every combine test you could imagine: he was bigger, stronger, and faster than Peyton. He was also seen as an arrogant, dim-witted meathead that might not be able to learn to run an NFL offense and might not care enough to try.

    One’s going to the HOF, one might be the biggest draft bust of all time. The Colts weighed intangile qualities heavily in making their selection, and they sure as hell got it right.

  36. Woodguy says:


    It’s a perception that evaluates players weighted heavily towards what the player does solely when the puck is on his stick, whilst seemingly ignoring the impact that players can make in other areas like hitting the opposition, running a pick, screening the goaltender, redirecting shots, clearing the slot, forcing a bad pass on the forecheck, etc.

    I think its because its been shown that puck possession drives wins.

    When analyzing the tied or when the score is within 1 (i.e. 3-2), the team that has the most shots in these game states (best proxy we have for possession) are usually the best teams in the league with the greatest winning percentages.

    There are outliers (aren’t there always?), but it a pretty good predictor.

    If you could have 4 lines of players that drive possession and shots, you would, and you would dominate.

    Its near impossible to do that, so you supplement your possession players with players who can “hold their own” (i.e. not get killed) against the other teams better lines.

    Then for the rest of the players (usually 4th line) some teams ice large fists, some ice kids with possession potential, some ice place markers.

    The bias towards possession players is because they are the ones who drive winning and the toughest to find, and most expensive to pay.

    “Hold their own” players are much easier to find (unless you are Tambellini) and cheaper to pay (unless you are Kevin Lowe)

  37. Lowetide says:

    lol. WG for the win. I think Eric Tulsky’s insight is going to favor those puck possession types even more as we matriculate.

  38. stevezie says:


    Good point. In hockey I always point to Chad Kilger. 6’4″, 215, one of the fastest players in the league with one of the best shots, but he never cracked 20 goals and rarely broke ten. Why? I really don’t know, but there was clearly something he did not have.

    I’m only saying intangibles are hard to measure. They are clearly important.

  39. DSF says:

    In his post draft junior season, JF Jacques scored 36 goals and 78 points.

    Moroz will be lucky to have that kind of career.

  40. VOR says:

    My apologies if this is a double post.


    The season you are citing for JFJ was two years post his draft. His first year post draft was 2003-2004, not the 2004-2005 season you are quoting.

    It is also worth noting that Jacques suffered a major back injury just when he looked like becoming an actual NHL player. That injury resulted in terrible back instability that plagues him to this day. Despite thatJacques is back in the AHL trying to establish himself so he can get a roster spot when the lockout ends.I admire his courage and determination.

  41. Beaker says:


    Why even bother responding? He said it once, no one responded and he couldn’t bear the fact that no one was paying him special attention so he had to say it again. It’s sad really.

  42. Lowetide says:

    DSF always does that stuff. It IS sad, really.

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