OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

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.

  • Druid

    More random lists
    Anaheim (games played in brackets):

    Nicolas Kerdiles
    John Gibson
    William Karlsson
    Devante Smith-Pelly (56)
    Mat Clark (2)
    Nicolas Deschamps
    Eric O’Dell
    Justin Schultz (48)
    Eric Tangradi (81)
    Bryce Swan
    Brendan Mikkelson (131)
    Jordan Smith

    • Rob...

      Thanks for the fair comparison. I haven’t been trying to say that the Oilers have drafted great in the second round over the last several years, but the shills need to work harder if they want to convince anyone but the naive that the Oilers are the worst of the worst.

  • Druid

    Random lists are fun, here are two more:

    Minnesota:
    Raphael Bussieres
    Mario Lucia
    Brett Bulmer
    Johan Larsson
    Jason Zucker
    Marco Scandella
    Ondrej Fiala
    Matt Kassian
    Roman Voloshenko
    Patrick O’Sullivan

    Vancouver:
    Alexandre Mallet
    Anton Rodin
    Yann Sauve
    Taylor Ellington
    Mason Raymond
    Marc-Andre Bernier

  • DSF

    @ DSF

    It seems like you believe people are drafting players, knowing they are locks to be NHL players. Every team, and I mean every team, drafts players hoping they will one day be NHL players.

    If Nashville, truly knew Webber was going to be one of the top defencemen in the league, they wouldn’t have waited till the fourth round to take him, they would have grabbed him with their first pick.

    No one, not one single scouting department can say with any confidence they are drafting x,y,z player with 1,2,3 pick. Every team is hoping they are drafting x,y,z player with 1,2,3 pick. And any player that goes above and beyond is pure gravy, not foresight.

  • Rob...

    Oilers picks in first round since 2003 have been pretty good even if a few bombed . Go back and look at how many more after them , and even before them in many cases that bombed on all the other teams . Never bothered to check all other rounds which are pretty much a crap shoot anyways . We are actually pretty impressive overall in first round , not near as bad as some think . We are one of the better ones for sure .

  • The Soup Fascist

    Chicago? Really? Comon Ratta.

    So, I guess Emery is available. Shocking. Ugh, that is a good looking tandem.

    Any interest in Emery? Not a bad backup option imo.

  • vetinari

    I don’t doubt that the Oilers will look for at least one Coke machine per draft until they can find one that can eventually break into the lineup– at this point, I think that while they would love someone who could play top 6 minutes, they would take anyone who can just keep up, be defensively responsible and play anywhere in their top 12.

    As for this draft, I don’t see the Oilers being able to move up into the top 5 due to other teams needs and our available assets, and in fact think that the Oil will likely drop down to the 10-15 range if they think that they can add another second or third rounder into the mix.

    As for Moroz, I love the nasty streak and if he can skate and put up 25 to 30 points a year on third or fourth line duty, bring him aboard after he’s done a year or two in the AHL.

  • Druid

    To be honest. We wanted the big 2nd line power forward that can can score, but Moroz is already looking good as the big third line shut down option that sucks to play against. I like that he is getting a really good handle on this position as it will mean that if he makes the jump, he will have great defensive tools. With any luck he can find the offensive side of his game, giving the Oilers a great 2 way winger with size and a mean streak. I don’t think the Oilers found their Lucic with this one, but they may have gotten their Clutterbuck. IN my opinion that’s a great pick at that spot.

    As for draft potentials, seriously Nichushkin looks like such a beast. He was an animal at the combine and would be an instant upgrade at second line LW. I know that means more kids in our top six which is the last thing we need. And I know they want a new 2nd line centre and move Gags to the wing. But come one. If this kid wasn’t Russian, he’d be in the conversation for 1st overall, and we have a shot at taking him at 7? That’s crazy.

    • DSF

      Except that Clutterbuck was drafted in the 3rd round…72nd overall.

      Some other comparable 3rd line players:

      Jannik Hansen – 9th round

      Chris Kelly – 3rd round

      Considering his lack of offence, drafting Moroz at 32nd was a huge reach.

      If you look at a player like Brian Bickell, who was drafted 42nd overall in the second round, he scored 45 goals and 83 points in his final junior season.

      The Oilers passed on players like Martin Frk (35G 85P), Matt Finn, Sebastien Colberg and Pontus Aberg to select a player who MAY become a 3rd line checker some day.

      Not smart.

      • The Soup Fascist

        A good rule of thumb is to NEVER draft guys named “Sebastien” or “Pontus” if you are trying to get meaner and tougher. “

        I fully support management on those exclusions.

      • Druid

        Aside from the fact you don’t want to recognize that for every deep draft pick that has worked out, there are soooo many more that don’t, I don’t really care what round the Oilers draft players that will eventually be solid additions to the team. It’s not like if / when he makes the team, the fact he was drafted where he was will have any bearing on how he is expected to play the position he gains.

        For a second round pick, getting a solid third liner who is tough to play against, is responsible defensively and can work well on a checking line, and who also contributes points throughout the year and might be able to jump-up in the line up, I think is fantastic. Especially if he can actually do all those things. If however, he doesn’t work out and becomes nothing, feel free to say that pick didn’t work out, just like the vast majority of picks outside of the top ten.

      • Rob...

        Yeah, you’re so right. No other team in the league has passed on what turns out to be an exceptional player. Oilers’ management and scouting sucks so hard compared to the other 29 teams in the league. Gosh, if only our future wasn’t so dim.

        • DSF

          Last 10 draft years 2nd round picks:

          03 – Colin McDonald – JF Jacques

          04 – Roman Tesliuk, Geoff Paukaovich

          05 – Taylor Chorney

          06 -Jeff Petry

          07 – No 2nd round pick but selected Alex Plante and Riley Nash in the first round

          08 – no 2nd round pick

          09 – Anton Lander

          10 – Tyler Pitlick, Martin Marincin, Curtis Hamilton

          11 – David Musil

          12 – Mitch Moroz.

          So, in a 10 year period, the Oilers second round picks have yielded exactly ONE actual NHL player.

          While it’s too early to make a call on the 2010-12 picks, that’s not a great track record.

          • Rob...

            So… your rebuttal to my post was to: a) List a bunch of Oilers draft picks, many of whom are still developing and may be serviceable Oilers at some point in their future. and b) again ignore every other team in the league, because they couldn’t possibly have chosen poorly for several years or failed to properly develop a good player?

            Also, can I please have your magic mirror that shows which draft eligible players are going to be concussed or otherwise injured, hampering or stopping their development?

          • DSF

            Successful teams tend to do reasonably well later in the draft.

            While none of them bat 1,000, many do find useful players after the first round.

            Here are the players LAK drafted in the second round and later in that same 10 years period:

            2003: Zip

            2004: Scott Parse 73 GP

            2005: Jonathan Quick 286 GP

            2006: Bud Holloway (SEL scoring leader)

            2007: Oscar Moller (86 GP), Wayne Simmonds 367 GP, Alec Martinez 142GP, Dwight King (80GP).

            2008: Slava Voynov 102 GP, Andrei Loktionov 87GP

            2009: Kyle Clifford 205GP, Jordan Nolan 79 GP

            2010: Tyler Toffoli 10GP

            2011: Nothing so far

            2012: Tanner Pearson was picked 2 spots before Moroz and has has already appeared in an NHL playoff game.

            Quite a contrast isn’t it?

          • OilersBrass

            I do agree with you DSF, the Oilers have been horrible at drafting forwards out of the first round, there is no doubt about that.

            For your comparison though you chose a team with probably the best development staff in the league for rookies. LAs’ farm team produces NHL ready players like no ones business.

            Edit: They do also have great scouts

          • Rob...

            “Quite a contrast isn’t it?” It is indeed, though as you pointed out, there are still duds. Plus some of those may have played games but they hardly made themselves household names through their appearances.

            How long did it take you to settle on the Stanley Cup champions as your proof that *all* of the other teams do it better than the Oilers?

          • otter2233

            If you’re not including 2010-12 picks that leaves your list at 7 players.
            Colin McDonald played 45 games last year with the Islanders and signed a 2 year one way extension with them.
            Lander is a fringe NHL right now at best but still too early to write him off as a 4th line defensive center.
            JF Jacques played 166 NHL games, by many standards that qualifies him as an NHL player, whether he is still playing or not is irrelevant.
            That’s 3.5 out of 7, depending on Lander. The average chance for a 2nd round pick to become an NHL player is about 1 in 5 or so…

          • DSF

            Uh,

            The Oilers gave up on McDonald…is that a win?

            Would Lander have any NHL games on his resume if he had been drafted by a team that didn’t finish at the bottom every year?

            JF Jacques played all but 6 of his NHL games with the sad sack Edmonton Oilers. When acquired by the Anaheim Ducks, he played all of 6 games and was dispatched to the AHL, never to be seen again.

            He managed to play 48 AHL games this past season and managed 6 goals 12 points and was -7.

            If that is your definition of an NHL player, fill yer boots.

      • DSF

        Agreed. Terribly dumb pick. If they wanted the guy, trade back a bit and get another asset. We rip on the jankowski pick, but we were guilty here too. My personal philosophy is never reach on a player. I’d rather risk losing him and wait till the next round if a trade back is not possible.

        Wish we would’ve picked Finn or Frk or Scissons.

        I also wish we would’ve grabbed toffoli instead of pitlick however pitlick was slated as a possible first rounder.

        Jenner over musil as well. Why pick a dman that’s not a great skater? We could really use Jenner in our system. 7th overall and second rounder for Jenner and te 14th is reasonable for me.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    Very optimistic post. Given how high he was drafted, the Oil Kings must have felt pressure to play Moroz as high as he was capable of playing and he still ended up on the 3rd line.

    Moroz would have to absolutely destroy the league offensively next season to have any hope of making MacT’s requirements of being able to be more than just neutral on NHL ice.

    • 2004Z06

      I could see him maybe getting an opportunity in OKC next season if he shows well in training camp but I think people suggesting he might get some time with the Oil is pretty ridiculous.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Only way Moroz can play in OKC is at the end of the Oil Kings season (the same way Musil / Gernat / Ewanyk are down there now). 19 year olds have to play in the NHL or in the CHL (minors are not an option unless their Junior team’s season is completed) and as you mentioned – the NHL is not in the cards for a few years, at best.

  • Spydyr

    Off topic : Do the Oilers get rid of all our players over 31 , and restock with others 24-30 years ? Could be to big a generational gap with our youngsters and older veteran group as it seems/is now ?

    We’d still keep Hemsky one more year .

  • Lowetide

    I hope that he is not the second coming of Huggy Bear? I like tough players as much as anyone, but huggy bear type players are downright frustrating to watch. We wanted Henrik Samuellsson and got Moroz……..thank god our management huggy bear ( ST) is gone!!

    Given we have the smallest enforcer in the league, this guy may help down the road.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Samuelsson is much more talented than Moroz but his spotty effort and total lack of discipline during the playoffs this year did nothing to separate him from anyone else. I am sure the Oilers would have taken Samuelsson had he been there at 32, but alas he was not.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Anyone hear any news on Raanta yet?

    If he’s looking for the path of least resistance to a starters role, the Oil by far are his best opportunity.

  • He sounds happy in his role and seems to like to learn,but has a physical approach.

    Bring him to camp and if his system ability is there he will stand out and make the roster.

    In a perfect world he would be stepping out of the developmentel Oilers organisational systemic influence and then into the same influence in camp compteting on a level playing field and using a systemic influence everyone knows and is consistant for all.And that exact systemic influence would carry over into the regular season.This way we can define the single most important thing,his system preparedness.

    If mnagment can follow this basic dynamic template then we can properly and accurately valuate players,current incoming and prospective.In the past there have been terminal disconnects in this continuity,but it looks like the tide is turning finally.

    I have been waiting for Moroz to come around,he is on track and I expect him to make an impact this year and show up on the NHL roster at some point,its all up to him really,anyone can excell if they choose to.

  • Zack

    I watched Moroz play against the hitmen in the playoffs. If he can move up the ladder and make the oil, what a refreshing treat he will be. Good speed, hard hitter, nasty attitude. Good luck to him.

    • Lowetide

      He’s an interesting player. I would love to know if the Oilers brass is completely satisfied with the way he’s been handled so far–and do wonder if he’ll get that chance this fall.

      Moroz was part of an effective defensive line, don’t know that the coach gives it up so easily.