When the Edmonton Oilers drafted Mitch Moroz with the 32nd overall pick this summer, they were reaching. They took a guy with just 25 points in the WHL as an 18-year old (the next WHL forward selected, Lukas Sutter, had more goals than Moroz had points).
For the pick to work out, Moroz needed to take the next step, and fast. He’s done the opposite so far this season; he’s standing still.
I wrote the recap for that pick here at Oilers Nation; the following is an excerpt from my reaction at the time:
Next year [2012-13] 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.
Moroz’s scoring line to date? Ten games played, zero goals, four points, minus-1.
It’s worth pointing out that it’s early right now. Bob Green, the Oil Kings general manager, told the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson that he wasn’t especially worried about Moroz’s struggles out of the gate:
He’s struggling a little bit right now. I think he feels the pressure. He has to relax and start having some fun and realize this is a process. He’s a way better than what he’s shown, but he’s a proud kid. He cares a lot, he works at things. He wants results — sometimes you try to do too much.
Green may well be right. By making the pick where they did, the Oilers’ scouting staff showed that they believe Moroz is more capable of generating offence than he’s shown to date.
At this point in time, though, Moroz is one of the few negative stories, and certainly the highest-profile one, among the Oilers’ prospect corps. If he carries on as he’s started, the question won’t be whether he projects as a power forward or as a grinder at the NHL level; the question will be whether or not he generates enough offensively to have an NHL future, period.
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