I sometimes wonder if there’s any communication between Oilers management and the Oil Kings coaching staff. On Friday night, Mitchell Moroz played a few shifts with Henrik Samuelsson (best forward on the team) and Curtis Lazar and the results were exceptional: physical, fast and furious and ultimately a victory for the home side. I wonder if the Oilers ever walk down the hall and suggest that trio might get a 10-game chance to show what they can do? Or is that waiting for the playoffs?
I went to the Oil Kings game on Friday night and was delighted to see Mitchell Moroz play a feature role (early on). Moroz had several chances and with a bit of puck luck might have scored a couple of goals. Someone told him to drive to the net with authority because that’s all he did–it was a “saw him good” moment for this Oiler fan.
Summer 2012: #17
Winter 2012: #12
Bob McKenzie 56; Redline Report 102; ISS 170
- Redline Report: Big, edgy power forward plays an in-your-face style and looks to initiate hard contact all over the ice. A feared enforcer who picked up 20 fighting majors, yet skates and handles the puck well enough to take regular shifts. Coaches eventually rotated him into the top six to give scoring lines a boost – gives smaller, skilled linemates more room to work with his physicality. Has surprising offensive tools with a heavy snap shot. Puckhandling confidence is soaring and he’s willing to try things with the puck now he wouldn’t have dreamed of six months ago. Skating enables him to play in open ice and even has decent lateral agility. Spins off checks to find space and gets to open ice. Emerging force uses great size/strength to dominate below the circles and is impossible to move around crease. Development curve is heading straight up and has upside.
- Craig Button:Mitchell is a player who enjoys the physical game. He will hit and punish opponents but is also willing and able to stand up to the challenges that comes with playing that particular style. He’s a very good skater and can close on opponents very quickly and thus there is not a lot of wiggle room to avoid a check when he’s on the ice. Because his skating is so good, he can play versus better players and make them uncomfortable. He plays in straight lines and is very effective along the boards. He doesn’t run around without purpose and he is very effective in his approach. He has very good awareness playing and is capable of contributing in areas other than physical play. He battles for the puck, will go to the net and is a player who plays with energy and an undeniable spirit and determination. He gives players on the ice a certain comfort but only if you are on the same team. Playing versus him, is a challenge and not fun because he is focused on doing what he can to disrupt you and help his team win.
I don’t think anyone was shocked when the Oilers selected Mitchell Moroz, but the timing (early 2nd round) was a surprise.
Moroz has been all over the depth chart: early on he was getting feature minutes on the top 2 lines and his scoring numbers (3-6-9 through his first 11 games) reflected it. After that, Moroz dipped and dived and has not found the range (13, 1-2-3) since the calendar turned to November. He was part of a solid crash and bang unit (with Klarc Wilson and Travis Ewanyk) but if he keeps playing depth minutes Moroz is not going to approach the 20-25 goal range one would expect for a future “power forward.”
#12 ranked prospects on December lists:
- December 2004: L Brad Winchester
- December 2005: C Kyle Brodziak
- December 2006: L Dragan Umicevic
- December 2007: D Alex Plante
- December 2008: G Jeff Deslauriers
- December 2009: G Devan Dubnyk
- December 2010: D Jeff Petry
- December 2011: G Olivier Roy
- December 2012: L Mitchell Moroz
Despite the movement up and down the depth chart, Moroz has increased his offense (especially at evens):
- 11-12 PP 66, 5-1-6 .091
- 12-13 PP: 24, 1-1-2 .083
- 11-12 EV: 66, 11-8-19 .288
- 12-13 EV: 24, 3-7-10 .417
I keep going back to the draft, and how high the organization was about this player.
- Stu Macgregor: “You always have to step up if there was a player you like. We liked him, we followed him and his developmental curve is on the way up. He provides some toughness, but not just toughness, he’s a good hockey player. He takes the puck to the net real hard and he shows a little bit of touch around the net. He’s only played one year of junior and I think he’s got an opportunity, with continuous development and drive, to be a good player for us.”
Look, I’m just some guy in his basement with the single lightbulb and the shop vac in the corner, but my goodness it doesn’t seem to me the Oilers drafted a guy 32nd overall in the hopes he’d play a depth role in junior. I’ve seen games where Mitchell Moroz looked like the puck was alien, but there have also been games like Friday night when it looked liked the light went on.
When given the opportunity early in the season, Moroz wasn’t far from a point-per-game. The guy I saw Friday night could do big damage given the chance. However, on Sunday Lazar and Samuelsson were back with Stephane Legault.
At this point, Mitchell Moroz is tracking about equal with Zack Stortini as a junior. I’d love to know his TOI totals and wonder if the Oilers organization believes this is the best way to handle Moroz. I’m missing something–a sense of entitlement from the player, or punishment for bad penalties, or wild bouts with consistency–because to be very honest with you Mitchell Moroz looked like a dangerous power forward for at least a period and a half on Friday night.