Last week on The Jason Strudwick Show, Mitch Moroz joined me for an interview. I was really looking forward to having him on. Having only met him once I didn’t know him very well. I always got the sense he was a guy with some personality and wouldn’t be afraid to show some of it!
Moroz was taken by the Oilers in last summer’s draft at number thirty two, early in the second round. It is a unique situation when a player is drafted by the NHL team that owns the junior team he plays for. I like the move because as the NHL team, you know everything about that player, and there will be no surprises, good or bad.
We got into a great interview and I want to share some of the highlights from our talk.
On what he learned from his first full season in the WHL (16g,9a,131pims)….
Mitch…..Last year I didn’t have as big a role on the team. It takes everybody doing different roles to have success like we did making it to the Memorial Cup.
I developed into a more rounded player by the end of the year. I learned how to be a more effective player, not just a role player. I want to continue to become a more effective power forward this year and moving forward.
On getting drafted so early and by the Oilers….
Mitch….Crazy experience, the whole spring (the teams playoffs success and the NHL draft) is a blur. I figured I would go in the second round. It was overwhelming and surprising to go that high. I knew the Oilers liked me. I am excited to be a part of the organization. Growing up they were my favorite team. It is a dream come true and I am very thankful.
On the getting underneath opposing teams skin….
Mitch….I have always played on the edge. As a bigger player, everyone was taking runs at me. I tried to respond by talking to the other team by chirping. I would also back it up by playing well and when needed adding the very physical side.
Players he idolized growing up…..
Mitch…..Ryan Smyth and Jarome Iginla
On competition between teammates….
Mitch….We have three solid lines and a younger fourth line working their way into the league. We push each other each day. Inner competition is great. It will help us get back to where we were last season.
On who controls the music in the dressing room…..
Mitch….I have a steady hand on the iPad! I have a great selection of music for any situation. In the morning I keep it more mellow with some country or 90’s tunes. Before games I get the guys going with songs off of the Big Shiny tunes collection! Love it!
On his first Hot Yoga experience…..
Mitch……Hot yoga was kind of messy. All that sweat wasn’t pretty but I didn’t mind it. I had to go no shirt though!
Moroz is a big guy at 6’2 and 210 pounds. There is no doubt how he has to play to be a successful junior and professional hockey player. His recipe for success will include being a powerful, hardworking energy player. He has to be hard to play against every shift. Getting the other team off their game is something he is good at. It is not easy to do but if you have that ability, run with it!
As I write this, Moroz has nine points in his first fifteen games so more points are coming his way this year. I like that he wants to expand his role and become a more rounded player. Watching him play his first step is something he must work on. The game gets faster every year. When he makes the jump to the AHL/NHL it doesn’t matter how strong you are if you get to the puck second all the time. The good news is that getting a quicker first step is doable!
The Edmonton Oilers need size and players with attitude and grit in their lineup, this is not a secret. The team is too small. When I look through the whole organization there are very few players like Moroz. His combination of size, skill and attitude are very much needed. There is opportunity for this young man.
As with most draft picks, patience is the key for the team and fans. Moroz will not play his overage year in junior. His twenty year old year will be spent in the AHL, developing. Depending on his progression, it could be a few years and lots of hard work by Mitch before we see him in an Oilers jersey full time.
I hope he does make it for a few different reasons. One, the Oilers need some size and attitude. Two, great to see western leaguers fill more spots on the Oiler roster. Three, I trust a guy that does hot yoga!
Well the big day has finally arrived! I hit the Pint on Whyte Ave tonight with my turntables! I can’t wait, it will be a great time. Gregor has been all over me saying I can’t DJ but tonight he won’t be able to stop dancing once I get my digits on the turntables. I have made my playlist and have checked it twice! Thanks to everyone who bought a ticket to this three hundred person event. All the money raised is going to the Inner City Childrens’ Program. It is a charity i have worked closely with for five years. To those of you who missed out, I am sure this will be a success so another will be planned.