When considering of the way forward for the Chicago Blackhawks, the primary identify that involves thoughts is Connor Bedard, however the truth that the Blackhawks have one of many strongest prospect pipelines within the NHL isn’t simply as a consequence of him alone. Players like Oliver Moore, who Chicago drafted with their second first-round choose after Bedard within the 2023 NHL Draft, convey much more eagerness for the group’s future. With Moore, he was thought-about a top-10 draft choose, and lots of couldn’t work out why he fell to nineteenth general. This summer time, he’s displaying why Chicago might have gotten a steal. With perception from Moore and his inside circle and his current play, here’s what followers can count on from him.
Moore Isn’t Just a One-Dimensional Threat
Most know Moore’s draft story. Going in, he was thought-about a possible top-10 choose as a consequence of his main weapon: velocity corresponding to Connor McDavid. General supervisor Kyle Davidson acknowledged that he tried working the phones to trade up from 19 to snag him, considering there was no doable method he would fall to them. Davidson couldn’t discover a commerce companion, however it labored out. Blackhawks’ director of newbie scouting, Mike Doneghey, stated that Moore’s hockey sense, protection, penalty-killing, and, sure, velocity are traits that stood out to him.
If you heard Moore’s identify earlier than the draft, all anybody talked about was velocity. Even when the Blackhawks referred to as his identify on the draft stage, one of many broadcaster’s first actions was mentioning his velocity. They are appropriate to take action, as footspeed kills within the NHL, however it may be unfair in methods; as Moore talked about, his game carries more weight than that.
“Every time I am out there, I’m just trying to make the right play. Whether it’s shooting or passing. Just trying to make the right reads out there. I’m trying to be an all-around player, not just a one-dimensional one.”
By Moore’s enjoying historical past, the stats converse for themselves as a objective scorer. His time with the US National U18 group final season noticed him notch 31 targets, 44 assists, and 75 factors in 61 video games, which was fourth-best on the group. On the US National U17 group in 2021-22, he had 24 targets, 15 assists, and 39 factors in 43 video games. At the U18 World Junior Championship for Team USA, he had 4 targets, 5 assists, and 9 factors seven video games. His stats present that his assists normally outweigh his targets by a superb margin, which is an indication of an excellent playmaker.
Related: Chicago Blackhawks Draft Oliver Moore nineteenth Overall
The last factor to notice about his recreation is his competitiveness. Davidson identified his work ethic after drafting him, and his father Brian expounded on that, saying, “Whatever he has done, he does well, and he works very, very hard. A lot is made of the skating, but he wouldn’t be where he is without more than that. He’s very dedicated in the weight room and [to] nutrition and studying the game and trying new things when he’s on the ice. They talk a lot about his ‘compete level,’ but that’s just who he is. He’s going, all the time.”
World Junior Summer Showcase
One of the areas the place followers acquired to witness Moore’s play firsthand was through the World Junior Summer Showcase two weeks in the past, the place he had three targets, one help, and 4 factors in 4 video games. He wasn’t the flashiest scorer, in comparison with one other Blackhawks prospect, Frank Nazar, who led the whole showcase in scoring with eight factors in 4 video games for the US groups. But, he made a press release. The Hockey News listed his 200-foot game as a standout and noted his ability to drive a line made him probably the greatest gamers on the ice throughout their last recreation. Here is an instance:
Moore has superb anticipation. He is aware of the place the puck will likely be and sits within the appropriate positions to obtain a go. His breakaway velocity additionally helps him evade everybody and get a transparent shot and rating. His US National U18 group assistant coach Chad Kolarik said, “His shot is NHL-caliber today.” I might agree, as my first thought was that his shot jogs my memory a little bit of Detroit Red Wings’ ahead Alex DeBrincat. It’s a fast shot that simply fools goalies. There is so much to be enthusiastic about concerning the 18-year-old’s recreation, as he additionally confirmed some prime stickhandling abilities.
Moore is working on explosiveness and has been working with skating coach Katie McDonough for the previous eight years, who continues to assist him unlock his skating method to get essentially the most out of his velocity and stride (from ‘How Blackhawks NHL Draft pick Oliver Moore developed into 2023’s quickest prospect’ – The Athletic – 6/29/2023). He’ll proceed to experience his profitable summer time showcase in his residence state on the University of Minnesota subsequent season, which will likely be important for his improvement.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft: 10 Must-Have Prospects
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My guess is that Moore fell within the draft as a result of scouts might have assumed he was all fuel and no brakes. Whatever the case, the Blackhawks couldn’t be extra thrilled with the result. Something McDonough mentioned stood out to me about Moore, stating, “When he’s on the ice, everybody’s better because of it, and he’s not doing anything other than showing up and working hard. He has an energy that he brings that’s contagious. All of his peers, they gravitate toward him.” These are the kinds of gamers you need and wish in your group.
Moore is able to be a Blackhawk and to proceed placing within the work. If any groups had doubts about him, absolutely that modified quick. People can proceed to tout him for his wheels, but when they’re specializing in that, then they’re lacking the total image of a participant who is flexible (can play wing or middle), has offensive abilities for days, a drive to succeed, and a two-way recreation that’s arduous to overlook. For Chicago, the Moore and Bedard period can’t begin quickly sufficient. What a steal.