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‘The same speed category as Connor McDavid’: Oliver Moore is within the Canucks’ reach at 11th overall

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Photo credit:NHL.com
Isabella Urbani
1 year ago
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Welcome back to our series here at CanucksArmy where we examine players who could be available for the Vancouver Canucks to take with the 11th pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. 
We’ve previously broken down Swedish right-shot defenceman Axel Sandin Pellikka; last season’s youngest NCAA player, BC’s own, Matthew Wood; Bo Horvat comparable, Slovakian centre Dalibor Dvorský; draft long shot Matvei Michkov, and OHLer Calum Ritchie. Continuing the quest for the Canucks 11th selection in the upcoming draft, we’ll look at our first skater from the USNTDP, centre Oliver Moore.  
Who 
Hailing from Mounds View, Minnesota, Oliver Moore is a second-line centre apart of the USNTDP, alongside three other first-round projections: Ryan Leonard (#6), Will Smith (#7), and Gabe Perreault (#18).
Drafted 12th overall in the 2020 WHL US Prospect Draft, Moore could have been one province over playing with the Medicine Hat Tigers. Instead, Moore ultimately decided on the NCAA route. In 61 games this season, Moore recorded 75 points (31 G, 44 A). Finishing fourth on the team in scoring, Moore will be playing for the University of Minnesota next season and could very well slot into Toronto Maple Leafs Matthew Knies’ position on the top-line next to Arizona Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley. As a golden gopher, Moore will return to Minnesota, where he played minor hockey growing up — including an appearance at the Brick Hockey Tournament for North America’s most elite 11 and 12-year-olds — after spending two years in Michigan, where the UNTDP is run out of. An assistant on the USA gold medal U-18 roster, Moore put up 9 points (4 G, 5 A) in 7 games. 
What the scouts are saying 
Mitchell Brown, Elite Prospects: “He never quits on plays, applies non-stop pressure, and defends like a pro – proactive down low coverage, leans on opponents but keeps his stick on the ice, and closes space on shooters before they even receive the puck. He’s a menace out there. The skill stands out, too. He works pucks through opponents, plays the give-and-game, uses space and deceives opponents before making the next play. He has impressive habits, cutting inside before cutting back or instantly taking space upon pass receptions, for example. But he’s not always aware of the next layer. He doesn’t always make the best play, even if his tools and skills have already created it. But even if he can’t figure that out, he’ll play. He’s just too fast, too intelligent, and too disciplined. A top-nine forward minimum, with top-line upside.”
Brian Galivan, USNDTP Strength and Conditioning Coach: “I would put him up there in the same speed category as Connor McDavid and I would think he’s probably faster than Connor McDavid was at the same age. I’m not comparing him as a player but from an athleticism and speed standpoint, I’ve never trained (McDavid) but there’s no way he’s as fast as Oliver.”
Austin Garret, Smaht Scouting: “Moore is the second most involved player in offensive transitions in North America behind Connor Bedard. He’s sending almost a quarter of his passes to dangerous areas of the ice, and is among the higher end shot generators in the class. Put this with his suberb skating and edgework, dogged mentatlity of being hard on pucks defensively, and his puck skill: Moore has risen to the top 10 of our rankings and still could climb higher. I’d like to see him carry the puck into the dangerous areas of the ice in the offensive zone and not just on the rush, but he’s been showcasing his offensive acumen the last few months.”
Scott Wheeler, The Athletic: “I don’t see a lot to nitpick in either his tools or his approach. More and more his game has shown dimension inside the offensive zone so that he can make things happen shift after shift out of all of his effort plays up and under sticks. He just has a unique ability to impose his will on the game. And while his game is bullish, he’s also got surprising soft skill. I’m not sure he has the star power of the names in front of him here, but he’s got some unique attributes in this class and he’s going to make a heck of an NHL player.”
Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff: “Moore might be the fastest skater in the draft, and one with the potential to become a real game-changer. Moore is the USNTDP’s second-line center, so he’s often been overlooked by the high-flying top line led by Will Smith. But some believe Moore might have the highest ceiling. Some time with the University of Minnesota will be beneficial. He’s a great dual-threat offensive forward that generates much of his line’s scoring chances and, again, his speed is his biggest asset.” 
Rankings (per Elite Prospects) 
Ding, ding, ding! We’ve got ourselves a winner. On average, Moore is gauged to be the 11th pick in the draft, which just so happens to be in the Canucks’ possession. At the low end, he’s forecasted to be taken sixth overall, which Elite Prospects currently has reserved for his USNDTP teammate Ryan Leonard. At the high end, he’s pinned to be taken 20th overall, where Vancouver Giants’ left-winger Samuel Honzek is sitting. It’s hard to get a good read on where exactly Moore will go, but that has been the case for any prospect certain to go outside of this year’s top five. 

PROSPECT COVERAGE PRESENTED BY BETWAY

Conclusion 
Moore’s skating absolutely blows his draft class out of the water — Connor Bedard included. It’s a game-changer. Moore has worked with Katie McDonough, founder and director of Cutting Edge Performance Power Skating, in St. Paul, Minnesota since he was in sixth grade. McDonough, who is a former figure skater, has worked with NHL players over the years, including former NHLer David Backes. There is lots to love in Moore’s game other than him being Elite Prospects’ pick for best straight-line skater: he’s ranked second for four-way mobility, is the second-best transitional forward and two-way forward, and ranks fourth for motor. As for his defence, well, it’s ranked better than his offence. Elite Prospects gave Moore a 96 for defence, which is 10 points higher than his offence rating.
Incredibly fast and a hard worker: what’s the catch? Moore’s too fast for his own good. His mind, like his feet, is racing a million hours an hour. He’s got a case of tunnel vision, which subsequently limits who he’s seeing on the ice and results in him making passes he simply doesn’t need to make. In other words, teammates have a tough time reading what he’s doing and receiving his passes.
While he’s on one page, his teammates are on another. The tendency to rush plays is not uncommon for players at this age, but it’s usually an early separating factor between good and great players. Elite Prospects wonders if he has “enough of a feel for the game to drive offensive results at the next level.” Paired with equally skilled or more skilled linemates next season for the University of Minnesota, Moore will be able to play with teammates that have the same motor and speed as he does, but if doesn’t start seeing his teammates better, he won’t have close to the impact he had this season. In Moore’s case, speed really can kill.
What would your reaction be if the Canucks could get their hands on Oliver Moore? Let us know in the comments section below!

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