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.