Mitchell Moroz is seven games into his AHL career and has zero points. Is this a big deal?
The AHL is a major jump from junior, and we see a period of adjustment each year that impacts CHL kids far more than college or Euro players. Here’s a list of CHL grads and what they accomplished in their first seven AHL games:
- Tyler Pitlick 7GP, 1-2-3 11 SOG
- Curtis Hamilton 7GP, 0-3-3 7 SOG
- Ryan Martindale 7GP, 0-2-2 6 SOG
- Jujhar Khaira 7GP, 0-0-0 13 SOG
- Mitchell Moroz 7GP, 0-0-0 10 SOG
- Travis Ewanyk 7GP, 0-0-0 8 SOG
- Kale Kessy 7GP, 0-0-0 4 SOG
- Cameron Abney 7GP, 0-0-0 3 SOG
Of the group of junior forwards who arrived in the AHL 2011-12 through this season, the first seven games of their AHL careers weren’t overly productive. The 11-12 group all showed well, but each faded as injuries impacted—that’s the big lesson here, stay healthy!
Every season, the college kids begin like a house on fire and I get dm’s and emails wondering what the hell is wrong with the junior players. Answer: Nothing. College kids are usually older, more experienced and have been playing with 25 and 26 year olds for a couple of years or more. It makes a big difference. Let’s have a look at some of the players who have graduated from college and how well they did in that first seven-game window.
- Tanner House 7GP, 1-4-5 14 SOG
- Andrew Miller 7GP, 1-3-4 12 SOG
- Chris VandeVelde 7GP, 1-2-3 7 SOG
- Mark Arcobello 7GP, 2-0-2 9 SOG
- Hunter Tremblay 7GP, 1-1-2 11 SOG
None of these men were draft picks (or at least high ones) but in their first AHL seasons hit the ground running. It’s a marathon not a sprint, but the college man has the edge early days, even if he doesn’t possess any draft pedigree. The poster boy for Edmonton is Mark Arcobello, as close to a walk-on as you can get in hockey.
College defenders often adjust more quickly to the AHL game, with men like Dillon Simpson (in photo) and Jordan Oesterle adjusting immediately to the minor league game. Long term, it has less impact. A player like Martin Marincin is rare though, having jumped from junior hockey and established himself as a legit NHL prospect in his first AHL season.
WHAT ABOUT MOROZ?
He’s playing, and sooner or later the pucks will go in. Offense isn’t the entirety of his game, and remember he’s 20. A young man like Mark Arcobello was older and had the college experience when he entered the AHL, and Teemu Hartikainen played in a tough European league. Moroz is made for a gritty tough game, and should thrive eventually in the minors (hopefully on his way to the NHL).
The points aren’t coming. It’s normal. He can’t be getting a lot of PP time and with the Hamiltons, Kale Kessy and Luke Gazdic on the Barons’ roster it’s a tough depth chart. Whatever the gap between junior and the AHL, it appears to be bigger than college or Euro to AHL. Mitch Moroz will be fine. It’s a period of adjustment.
“I feel like I’m right there, not out of place at all.” Mitch Moroz
(Photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)