The Edmonton Oilers select Mitch Moroz 32nd overall at the NHL Draft

Jonathan Willis
June 23 2012 08:20AM

The Edmonton Oilers have made the 32nd overall selection this morning, drafting forward Mitch Moroz.

Red Line Report describes the player this way:

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.

Red Line had Moroz ranked as the 102nd best prospect for this year’s draft.

This is a Milan Lucic-style flyer. Moroz is not a Cam Abney-style pick, where fourth-line upside is the only possibility - he scored 16 goals and 25 points in 66 games for the Oil Kings and has a 6'2", 208lb frame.

Bob Stauffer's reaction to the pick was "there are going to be a lot of scouts here that think this is a reach," and I think that's a fair assessment, but clearly this is a player the Oilers coveted that they did not expect would still be around when their third-round pick came along.

There was significant talent still on the board - after Columbus drafted Oscar Dansk, the Oilers could have had their choice of players like Matt Finn, Dalton Thrower, Sebastian Collberg or Pontus Aberg. Instead, they chose to address team need.

I don't necessarily think that this is an ideal pick, but if the Oilers are looking for a big power forward realistically this is the sort of selection they need to make. Big guys with some skill often go higher than expected, and Moroz is one that the Oilers would have seen repeatedly given that he played for the Oil Kings this year. The likelihood is that Moroz tops out as a bottom-six forward at the professional level, but there's at least a chance he explodes.

Next year will be the one to watch - Lucic scored 30 goals in his post-draft season after putting up just 19 points the year before. If Moroz is going to have power forward upside, he needs to take a leap forward next season. Stauffer suggested that 25-30 goals are not out of reach for next season; if that turns out to be correct then this pick will look better than it does right now.

Tune in to Jason Gregor's live blog from the draft floor for complete coverage of all the picks.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 dawgtoy
June 23 2012, 08:23AM
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Not a fan of this pick with so many skilled players still on the board.

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#2 Peebos
June 23 2012, 08:25AM
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This pick looks a bit desperate given who was left on the board. I think the Oilers were choked that Sameulsson got away and didn't want to let another home-grown guy in Moroz slip to the 3rd round.

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#3 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
June 23 2012, 08:25AM
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At least they waited for the 2nd round to take Ninimaaki (sp?) this time....

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#4 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 23 2012, 08:27AM
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why not pick him up in the third or fourth...

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#5 TonyT
June 23 2012, 08:31AM
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Like the player, picked this early seems a little desperate after Henrick S. got taken off the board. Fits a need though, good luck.

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#6 oilersplumber
June 23 2012, 08:34AM
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@Peebos

Crazy eh ? all these experts here.....and all those not experts in the Pitt....i guess a guy just has to thankful we dont have a Jankowski in the mix....

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#7 Romulus' Apotheosis
June 23 2012, 08:37AM
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so the gamble is he's a top 6 lucic type?

that seems a wild stretch, no?

if he's explodes more likely he's a bottom 6 grinder... and lucky to get regular ice time... right?

can't you simple acquire that guy (ben eager type) whenever?

should have taken aberg or finn.

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#8 TonyT
June 23 2012, 08:46AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

so the gamble is he's a top 6 lucic type?

that seems a wild stretch, no?

if he's explodes more likely he's a bottom 6 grinder... and lucky to get regular ice time... right?

can't you simple acquire that guy (ben eager type) whenever?

should have taken aberg or finn.

And with the Oilers next pick (Jujhar Khaira), we know what the Oilers are looking for.

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#9 Ryan2
June 23 2012, 09:16AM
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I don't mind it. The team already has their high end skill players set. They need to add size and grit that looks like it can play. Moroz fits that bill. If they like him they might as well take him since this is a weak draft for forwards - who knows which picks will turn out to be the right ones?

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#10 Kevin
June 23 2012, 09:28AM
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usually not a warm fuzzy when the Oiler brass think they are smarter than everyone else. We have proof of this time and time again.

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#11 AutoOilef
June 23 2012, 09:44AM
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Starting to question Stu.

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#12 Smokey
June 23 2012, 09:45AM
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Nice puck for the third round, not for the second. At least we did not completely pull a Calgary and draft a project from a Quebec high school.

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#13 striatic
June 23 2012, 09:46AM
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Ryan2 wrote:

I don't mind it. The team already has their high end skill players set. They need to add size and grit that looks like it can play. Moroz fits that bill. If they like him they might as well take him since this is a weak draft for forwards - who knows which picks will turn out to be the right ones?

they most certainly do not have their high end skill players set.

not at C.

not on D.

lots of pressure on Gagner now, Klefbom too.

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#14 Clyde Frog
June 23 2012, 10:03AM
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Gagner IS a second line center now, he will be moving into his 26-27 prime years by the time any second round pick is hoping to become a rookie.

I'm fine if they take a reach at something here and there, its not like MacGregor is famous for it; or it was done in the first round... *Cough* Calgary *Cough*

Also this draft seemed to have several high-profile first round reaches already, so I can see the Oil being concerned with players falling off faster than their official rankings.

It's not like they passed high-profile skill at a point where every kid is guarunteed to crack the roster. Most of the kids picked from this morning on will only get a memento jersey and a warm phone call from a NHL GM out of today.

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#15 Quicksilver ballet
June 23 2012, 10:08AM
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Think Edmonton invested far too much effort putting the screws to Howson yesterday. Beating the Ryan Murray drum all day leading up to 5 o'clock hoping Howson would submit, a great plan if it works, but it didn't.

Edmonton may have gotten the best player in this draft as of today but i have to believe their is now serious doubt in some peoples ability in that circle of trust. MacGregor was singly focused on Ryan Murray, to have that all tied up with a bow on it and then crumpled up and thrown in the garbage, it may come at a price.

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#16 justDOit
June 23 2012, 10:20AM
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+1 to that CF!

I too was hoping for Thrower (is there a better hockey name out there?), but considering that the Oilers am scouts have seen more of Moroz than any other player of his type, it's probably a good gamble.

I can't remember where I read the story on how the Bruins found Lucic, but the head am scout needed knee surgery and went back to his home in Vancouver to recuperate. There he saw a lot of Giants games and Lucic won him over.

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#17 non descript
June 23 2012, 10:23AM
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wow 2-6 looks promising. a reach in the second, a couple of small left handed shooting defencemen (enough already, how about a rhs defenceman, say ville pokka instead of drew czerwonka, i mean mitch moroz)and some second tier wingers and not one center. stu macgregor supporters will come out looking pretty foolish in a couple of seasons.

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#18 justDOit
June 23 2012, 10:28AM
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@CJtheDP: How exactly is picking the best player poor strategy? I don't really understand the thrust of your grumblings this morning.

Maybe by beating the Murray drum as hard and often as they did, they tricked the BJs into taking a player who should have gone much later (according to some analysts). If so, that would be some high-level strategizing on LoweBellTavish's part.

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#19 Reg Dunlop
June 23 2012, 10:42AM
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Oilers too busy planning the Stanley Cup parade route, snoozing while Samuelsson gets snapped up. With his upside, however, Moroz could one day be a regular in the AHL(cross your fingers). Katz should have taken the crack pipes away from Tambo and Stu.

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#20 Quicksilver ballet
June 23 2012, 11:15AM
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Oops, i tooted, sorry

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#21 nvan97
June 23 2012, 11:18AM
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Ewanyk, Pelss, and Gernat, now Moroz. I think it's a good pick because of their ability to control some of their development even in junior. Pelss and Gernat would be picked far earlier if redrafted and that's all you can ask for. Let's step back from the edge for a little bit and remember this is the same scouting staff that has done a pretty decent job in picking some pretty exceptional prospects way later in the draft.

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#23 Pouzar99
June 23 2012, 12:48PM
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Come Join the Dark Parade - any evidence whatsoever for this purple fantasy? We can imagine whatever we like but without substantial evidence that something, literally anything like this occurred what value does it have? Are you suggesting you have inside sources, or that you are just better at reading the teas leaves?

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#24 Randall Shermer
June 23 2012, 01:32PM
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Seems like every year they're spending 2 picks chasing some size and some basic NHL capabilities. How many 2nd or 3rd rounders would it take to just trade for that player?

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#25 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
June 23 2012, 01:58PM
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Quicksilver, do you realize how full of crap you can sometimes be?

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#26 rockinghockey
June 23 2012, 02:47PM
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We draft Yak and get the best player in the draft, it was obvious that EDM wanted to get some fwds that had skill and size, it shows by the players that they drafted. Can't believe the negative people on here. Even if Moroz plays bottom 6, he is big, can skate, can shoot and has hockey skills, that is exactly what we need now. This kid can play and can fight and hit. I thought that is the type of player we needed in our system.

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#27 Kelly
June 24 2012, 07:48PM
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Everybody is an expert! There is nothing wrong with this pick. I too was hoping to hear Thrower's name called but Moroz is a pick that could turn into a huge homerun. COULD...remember we are talking about 18 year olds and projecting how an 18 yer old will develop is an inexact science. Moroz has good wheels, a big frame, and some skill. If he had scored 25-30 goals he would not be there at #32. Stu thought he would be gone before the 3rd round. I am not saying Mitch will be a better NHLer than Finn or Thrower. But the kid has potential and if all goes well this will be a great pick. If not, do the Oilers really need another #5 d-man or smallish forward who may or may not be able to score in hte NHL? In Moroz, they at least have made a high risk/high reward pick in an area of need.

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