June 02 2013 01:25PM
The day Edmonton drafted Mitchell Moroz, the Oilers were absolutely addressing need. Moroz--a big, tough winger who can skate and arrive in ill humor consistently--instantly moved to the top of the list of 'junior forwards other teams don't want to play against' in the organization. One year later, Moroz appears to be on the verge of a long awaited move up the depth chart to a skill line and offensive opportunity.
THE MOROZ RESUME
Moroz is much more than an enforcer, in fact he spent this past season on a designated shutdown line (first with Klarc Wilson and Travis Ewanyk and then later with Edgars Kulda and Ewanyk) and delivered well in that role. Offensively, he improved some but has not been given top 6F minutes so far in his junior career.
That is likely to change this coming season.
- Moroz: "There will be more of an opportunity, so getting some further experience (offensively) will be good. It's something I can look forward to, but it's something that comes with a lot of work. I came into this year expecting to play a little bit of a bigger role and I didn't really promote myself well enough at the start of the year. I got away from some of the things that made me successful, but started to turn things around as the year went on."
The Moroz splits month by month show remarkable consistency:
- First half: 35, 7-10-17 +11
- Second half: 34, 6-11-17 +10
- Total 69, 13-21-34 +21
And his stats suggest he was not getting a lot of PP time:
- EV: 69, 10-17-27
- PP: 69, 3-4-7
- PK: 69, 0-0-0
Looking back on his draft day scouting report (always a good idea as these prospects progress) we do see an element of offensive potential mentioned (in bold):
- 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.
So it's there, but he needs to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Edmonton Oilers drafted Mitchell Moroz early in round 2, 2012. Clearly they believed (and there is independent evidence above) that there was more offensively than had been shown before draft day.
2012-13 was running in place, and in fairness the Oil Kings were certainly stacked on the top 2 lines. This fall--with so many players moving on, graduating to pro and flying the coop--this is a stand and deliver season for the big, strong and fast winger.
Heading out of town are overagers TJ Foster, Trevor Cheek and Dylan Wruck; graduates Travis Ewanyk, Michael St. Croix and Henrik Samuelsson may turn pro too.
For Mitchell Moroz, opportunity is knocking.