December 29 2013 10:39AM
The key for any organization is procurement, and for NHL teams most of that comes from the annual Entry draft. The Oilers signed Mitchell Moroz to an entry level deal yesterday, confirming the young man has developed enough since draft day to warrant three years of commitment from the organization. How much has he progressed?
Moroz was drafted out of order by the Oilers because they felt an extreme need for this player type. Although all NHL teams say they draft best player available—and they should—most draft for need much of the time and the Oilers have done so forever.
That said, tracking Moroz since his draft day has revealed improvement, including a two year stint on the shutdown line that impacted his play away from the puck (and his offense). This season, as an older player, Moroz has had the better of it offensively. How much of this offense will he bring with him? Let's have a lash.
In the period after he was drafted, C&B's Scott Reynolds compiled a list of comparables and I think that's the best place to start.
BOXCAR NUMBERS IN YEAR AFTER DRAFT
- Shawn Matthias 64, 38-35-73 1.14
- Eric Tangradi 56, 24-36-60 1.07
- Milan Lucic 70, 30-38-68 .971
- Colton Gillies 58, 24-23-47 .810
- Blake Comeau 65, 24-23-47 .723
- Brett Clouthier 65, 13-26-39 .600
- Mitchell Moroz 69, 13-21-34 .493
- Dane Byers 65, 11-9-20 .308
You'll notice my numbers differ from Scott's, his are adjusted. Moroz is at the bottom of the group, closer to Dane Byers than Matthias and Lucic. We don't have TOI for these men, but I think it's reasonable to suggest Moroz wouldn't be at the top of the list with mammoth 1line time or PP opportunities.
BOXCAR NUMBERS IN YEAR TWO AFTER DRAFT
- Milan Lucic was in the NHL at age 19
- Colton Gillies was in the NHL at age 19
- Eric Tangradi 55, 38-50-88 1.60
- Shawn Matthias 53, 32-47-79 1.49
- Blake Comeau 60, 21-53-74 1.23
- Mitchell Moroz 35, 21-13-34 .971
- Brett Clouthier 68, 28-29-57 .838
- Dane Byers 71, 21-27-48 .676
Moroz has certainly improved year over year (so far) and is approaching the range where the first guy who had some actual NHL success resided at the same age (Comeau). If he can improve his number in the season's second half, the club might be looking at a player who can play above the 4th line (should he make the NHL).
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Mitchell Moroz has taken legitimate steps forward since his draft day. He's now at a point where he's in the range with comparables that we can see an NHL appearance and possibly a career. Credit to him for all the hard work, congratulations Mitchell Moroz on the contract and we look forward to following your pro career beginning next fall.