Is Moller ready?
Following up on the Trevor Lewis item from yesterday, Oscar Moller is another young player who is in the mix for a forward spot, and Moller looked strong in today’s scrimmage, with one goal and a couple other chances.
It’s been an up-and-down ride for Moller so far, even though he’s only 21. A big surprise in 2008, when he made the team out of training camp, Moller spent the majority of last season with Manchester because coaches felt he wasn’t consistent or competitive enough to stay at the NHL level.
It appears as though that might have changed now, as Moller looks a bit bulkier and stronger and hasn’t been shy about taking the puck to the net. Moller is in the mix for a fourth-line role, and should Scott Parse stumble in his quest to earn the second-line left-wing spot, Moller would be a natural to step into that role. Moller was drafted as a center, but the Kings believe his future is on the wing, and Moller can play either side. Here’s what Terry Murray said about Moller’s camp…
MURRAY: “Oscar was on the team two years ago, and he made the team. It wasn’t like he was given a position. He’s a very skilled guy. He’s a high-character player. He’s dependable and he’s very knowledgable. When I look at his play last year, we became a better hockey club and he just seemed to be off the pace a little at times. As a result of that, he was designated to play in Manchester. He has come back this year and he has put a great amount of work into his offseason. He looks stronger. He looks faster. He looks like he can handle that heavy going. I think he’s going to have a very exciting training camp and he’s going to make it hard on us. I’m looking forward to watching that.”
Last season, there was a perception that because of Moller’s size and skill set, he needed to play a top-six role in order to stick with the Kings. I asked Murray whether that was still the case, or whether he saw Moller being able to compete for a fourth-line role now.
MURRAY: “I still think that when he develops to full maturity, meaning getting older, and he gets into his mid-20s that a top-six player is what he should be. Could it be something else right now? Absolutely. If he continues and he does impress throughout the training camp, it’s a matter of putting the best players on the team and going forward that way. If he shows to be that, that’s the decision that we have to make.”