Trevor Moore would’ve been pretty successful in the Old West.
The quickest shot around typically won a lot of duels, in those times.
While Moore hasn’t necessarily altered a ton in his game, his production has come in at a record pace here in the first half of the season. With 17 goals, Moore has already equaled his career high, coming in just 37 games as opposed to 81.
He hasn’t scored goals in just one way, but the release he’s used when shooting the puck has been quite noticeable.
Trevor Moore picks his corner perfectly to extend the lead for the @LAKings! 👑
— NHL (@NHL) December 24, 2023
Moore shoots the puck differently than most.
“He shoots it a little differently than others, he doesn’t have that drag shot, he just releases it,” Fiala said. “He’s got the puck in the middle and he just puts his stick on it and I think it’s very hard to read for a goalie. It’s a little bit weird, but it works for him. Such an unbelievable shot.”
The quick release has always been there in Moore’s game, even when the puck wasn’t going in at the same type of rate. Earlier this season, Moore said that he changed the curve and the flex on his stick in the offseason. He made the flex a little bit stiffer and changed the pattern on his blade, with an intention of improving his shot, specifically, with the hope of scoring more goals.
In past years, Moore had a straighter curve on his stick, which typically aids with stickhandling, catching passes on the backhand and those sorts of areas. Moore is a high-level player in those areas already, though, and wanted to make a change that helped to enhance his shot. Combine that change in technology with a release that was already lightning-quick and we’re seeing the fruits of the labor on the ice.
“I think I’ve kind of always had a quicker [release],” Moore said. “I think now, watching some other guys like Juice, I think the curve helped me to change it a little bit, but it wasn’t really something I worked it, it just kind of happened.”
What’s “just kind of happened” has been an offensive explosion.
It’s an explosion that Todd McLellan felt was probably coming for Moore last season, had he not missed the bulk of the 2023 portion of the schedule due to injury. Still though, it’s coming now and Moore’s start has been one of the best stories of the first half of the season for the Kings.
So, what’s been the secret formula for it all coming together?
First things first, Moore is a player who is willing to shoot the puck.
I know that sounds basic, but it’s a key aspect. Having the shot is great, but a lot of players in the best league in the world have a heck of a shot. Being willing to take shots from different places on the ice, a willingness to shoot for volume, is something that separates Moore from many.
“He has a mindset to shoot,” McLellan said. “If that’s not on the top of your mind, if that’s not your first thought and you’ve got to look off four different options, by the time you do shoot, it’s too late. He thinks shot and he should be, he’s scored a lot.”
When Moore gets into certain areas on the ice, with the intention to shoot, the puck isn’t on his stick for very long. In some instances, that would limit the power on a shot, but Moore’s found a nice balance between power and accuracy, all driven by his quick and timely release.
“His release is quick, he only uses a small area of the ice,” McLellan added. “There’s some that really have to drag it and pull it for 10 feet sometimes and the release is long. He doesn’t need that.”
So, a willingness to shoot and the ability to get his shot off quickly. Not a bad combination.
Asking his teammates what makes Moore’s shot tricky led to a wide-variety of answers.
Many were simply complementary of how Moore has been able to produce at such a high level early in the season. Many were thankful for that production.
Carl Grundstrom, who has been teammates with Moore dating back to the AHL in the Toronto organization, called it “impressive”, noting the quickness of the release. Moore’s regular linemate Phillip Danault spoke about the combination of a “strong” finish, along with the quick release. Quinton Byfeild couldn’t help but smile when asked.
“I don’t know what he did to his stick but he’s ripping it now.”
In speaking with another smaller player in Blake Lizotte, he offered an interesting observation, which coincides with a quick release. When many players go to shoot the puck, there’s a change in their hand positioning, as they transition from stick handling to shooting. It’s natural. With Moore, he keeps his hands in relatively the same spot, as you’ll see below. That makes it harder for players on the ice to see what he’s looking to do with the puck.
“His hands are a lot closer together than most players on his release,” Lizotte said. “So, he stickhandles in the same spot versus moving his hand up or down. I think that makes it harder to read when he’s going to shoot. He’s got that quick release and a sneaky, heavy shot.”
It’s one thing for a fellow skater to notice it, but when you’re shooting, you obviously want to see what a goaltender is looking for.
So, straight to the source.
Cam Talbot has faced Moore in practice now for a few months and he’s gotten a first-hand look at the way he shoots the puck. While Lizotte picked up on the hands, Talbot said a lot of his focus as a goaltender is on the blade of a shooter’s stick. When Moore spoke about his curve a couple of months back, he said that the new pattern allows him to do a few different things with angles on his shot. From the perspective of a goaltender, that’s something that makes Moore’s shot tricky to read.
“It’s hard, I feel like the angle of his blade never changes, whether he’s going high or low, glove or blocker, he releases it from the same point on his stick,” Talbot said. “You can’t get a read on it until the very last second. There’s some guys that you can read it a little bit easier, you know when or where it’s coming off, but for him it almost looks the same every time, on every release, so he keeps you, not guessing, but keeps you patient as long as possible.”
Whatever he’s doing, it’s certainly working.
Here on January 10, Moore’s 17 goals continue to top the charts for the Kings, even as he’s gone a couple of games without finding the back of the net.
At 5-on-5 this season, Moore leads the Kings in shot attempts, unblocked shot attempts and shots on goal. When Moore scores a goal, the Kings have a record of 12-1-1. As they look to break out of their current slump, that sees them on a six-game losing streak, Moore is a guy who the Kings will continue to look towards to deliver moments that can bring the group back in the right direction.
The Kings are back on the ice tomorrow morning at 11:30 for morning skate in Sunrise, Florida. With six consecutive losses, it’s another important game to get back on track. It’s been a tough go, without a doubt. More to come on that front in the morning.