For two seasons (17 and 18), Mitchell Moroz was part of a shutdown line, a designated checking line, and his offense sputtered. Eyewitnesses told us as much, but we were slow to believe. Finally, at 19, Moroz would get a chance to play on a skill line. Thoughts of a 30-goal power forward were impossible to resist. How’s that working so far?
PREVIOUSLY NUMBER ELEVEN ON THE LIST
- December 2004: L Tony Salmelainen (70)
- December 2005: D Bryan Young (17)
- December 2006: G Jeff Deslauriers (62)
- December 2007: D Theo Peckham (160)
- December 2008: D Taylor Chorney (61)
- December 2009: D Johan Motin (1)
- December 2010: G Devan Dubnyk (158)
- December 2011: D Colten Teubert (24)
- December 2012: C Anton Lander (68)
There are a couple of players of note here, Dubnyk who we’ve discussed in this series and Peckham who is struggling to get back but looked like he might be a player for awhile there. Lander could still end up being something, but there are no 500 game players here unless Dubnyk hangs around forever.
WHAT THEY SAID ON DRAFT DAY
- 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.
POINTS BY DISCIPLINE, MITCHELL MOROZ
|MOROZ 2011-12 WHL||66, 11-8-19 .288||66, 5-1-6 .091||66, 0-0-0||66, 16-9-25 .379|
|MOROZ 2012-13 WHL||69, 10-17-27 .391||69, 3-4-7 .101||66, 0-0-0||69, 13-21-34 .493|
|MOROZ 2013-14 WHL||24, 14-7-21 .875||24, 2-1-3 .125||24, 0-0-0||24, 16-8-24 1.000|
In his first two seasons, Moroz played more of a shutdown role with Travis Ewanyk, it was a de facto checking line that did the dirty work and allowed the high end skill forwards to score against lesser competition. That sort of thing is unusual, and honestly it’s kind of difficult (without knowing time-on-ice and counting opponents) to know offensive ability with any degree of accuracy. The only thing we knew was this: the Oil Kings had better offensive options, and Moroz wasn’t scoring enough to cover the second round bet.
That’s why the 19-year old season is so interesting. Mitchel Moroz is running in place as a power play forward, and he doesn’t penalty kill, but at even strength he’s on pace for 42 goals. Incredible.
PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING
- Summer 2012: 17
- Winter 2012: 12
- Summer 2013: 14
- Winter 2013: 11
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING THIS SEASON
- Moroz: “We’ll see what happens. I wrote on my goal sheet at the start of the year that I wanted 30 plus, so we’ll see. I’m going to just keep shooting the puck, good things happen when you do that. I said 20 plus assists, just because I’m usually not the guy to pull up and make a play but he’s going to burry when I give him the puck, but the same with [Reid] Petryk and Sammy [Henrik Samuelsson] when I play with those guys. They’re all gifted offensively so the points will come. I know that it has been a point of mine not to be just focussed on that though, I’ve still got to play a rounded game because at the next level it’s going to be called from me to play a rounded game.”
- Ryan Batty, Copper and Blue: It’s great that Moroz is getting a chance to play with some very skilled players and that he is making the most of that chance but I very much doubt that he’s the one tilting the ice during his shifts. I’ve seen these three guys play a lot of hockey and Moroz is a couple giant steps behind Samuelsson and Lazar when it comes to playing the game. So no, I don’t think we’ve been completely wrong about Moroz all along. It’s a great start but until I see some more evidence I’m going to say it’s just a hot streak. Good for him though, if he keeps this up he’s going to guarantee himself a pro contract.
- Moroz has been named to the Subway Series roster.
The progress this season for Moroz is encouraging, and I think it reflects how well he can play with more skilled players. It’s unlikely he’ll be playing with top end players next season in the AHL, and a third or fourth line role similar to Travis Ewanyk’s experience next season seems likely. The Oilers must be pleased with his progress this season, and he’s very likely to secure a pro contract sometime in the next few months.
His NHLE for this season is 82, 16-9-25. That should be considered the extreme outer marker offensively. However, the absolutely noxious putdowns of Moroz in his draft season+ have been answered with a nice ‘f-you’ start from this player.
I for one am extremely pleased by this result.