30 for T.O. – Trevor Moore, Teammates, Coaches reflect on 30 goals for the California kid

Jim Hiller has been waiting a long time to be Trevor Moore’s Head Coach.

Back when Moore was just 16 years old, he went up to Western Canada for a camp in the WHL. Hiller, then the Head Coach of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, got the chance to see him play live in person. He tried his best that week to get him not to leave, to play for him at the major-junior level, but Moore declined a WHL opportunity to pursue an NCAA scholarship, which he ultimately earned at the University of Denver. Even then, Hiller knew that Moore had something as a player and Moore appreciated the opportunity he was presented with, as a 16-year-old kid from California.

“It was pretty cool to go to that camp, to talk to him and he wanted me to stay there, which was a huge hockey moment for me,” Moore recalled back. “To cross paths with him again in Toronto, and then now here, it’s been sweet.”

Fast forward to the beginning of Moore’s professional career, when he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization and wouldn’t you know it, Hiller was there as an assistant coach when Moore eventually made his NHL debut. Now, some 13 years after they initially met, Hiller is the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings and Moore is the team’s leading goalscorer, as he reached the 30-goal mark for the first time as a professional. Pretty cool to see things come full circle for those two.

“I’ve had a long history with Mooresie and I’ve appreciated him since he was 16 years old,” Hiller said. “He works every night, gives you what he’s got and to go score 30 goals on top of that, it’s pretty special.”

30-goal scorer Trevor Moore.

With his third-period goal on Saturday against Vancouver, Moore reached that mark for the first time as an NHL player. Come to think of it, Moore never scored 30 goals in the AHL, the NCAA or the USHL. Never even scored 25. In the NHL, though, Moore is now a 30-goal scorer.

It’s got a pretty nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

“It’s pretty cool,” he admitted. “I honestly don’t think I ever would have imagined, to be able to score 30 in the NHL, so that was super cool.”

It feels a little self-deprecating, but Moore never necessarily saw himself as that kind of player. Until January 1, 2022, I’m not sure that anyone ever gave him the opportunity to be that player, though.

Moore accepted and embraced pretty early on in his career the things that he would likely need to do to establish himself at the NHL level. He was a scorer in college and in the AHL, becoming an AHL All-Star, but the NHL is a different beast. He’d need to work hard, kill penalties and lead the way by doing the less-glamorous work that others might not be willing to do. It led him to a Calder Cup with the Toronto Marlies before he ultimately cracked the NHL as a worker on a Toronto team filled with highly-gifted offensive players. On teams led by Auston Matthews and company, Moore took the necessary steps toward become an NHL regular, playing in all seven games with the Maple Leafs during his debut season.

“I always wanted to just keep taking steps and prove that I could keep taking those steps,” Moore said. “I don’t think that 30 was ever like the end goal for me, or that’s where I’d have thought that I had achieved something. It was just always about getting better and I think I’ve been able to do that.”

Fast forward then to New Year’s Day 2022, when the Kings hosted Philadelphia. On that day, Moore moved into the top six, playing on a line with Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson. Moore had four points in that game, with all three forwards tallying at least three. The Nice Line was formed in that moment and when all three players have been healthy, they’ve rarely been split apart.

Moore’s move onto that line came nearly two years after he was acquired from the Maple Leafs in a trade made back when the Kings were subtracting NHL-level pieces, not adding them. Moore came back to Los Angeles as a local kid with some upside, a player the Kings were keen to acquire, but not necessarily a guy they had pegged ultimately being where he is today.

“You know, I don’t think when we made that trade, we expected 30 goals out of him, but it’s amazing,” Drew Doughty said. “As a hometown boy, obviously he loved the Kings growing up and it’s pretty special for him and his family, but it’s special for all of us too. We’re really proud of him and he really earned it.”

With that line together pretty much ever since, including this fall during in training camp, it’s mostly been health that’s kept the trio apart this season. Arvidsson has missed the bulk of his team’s games with a pair of injuries and Danault missed the four games prior to Saturday’s win over Vancouver. When it all came together, though, it was quite fitting.

Wouldn’t you know it though, on Saturday evening, those three guys were on the ice together for Moore’s 30th goal, with Arvidsson and Danault involved in making it happen. Arvidsson did not get an assist, but it was his pressure on the forecheck that initially forced the turnover in the offensive zone. Moore and Danault then combined on a give-and-go play, with Danault quickly returning the puck to Moore down low. The California native delivered the rest.

Special to have those three together on the goal.

“I thought about that pretty quickly after, just how special that was to have Phil come back and make that pass and have Arvy contribute on that goal too,” Moore said. “We’ve been through a lot together, played a lot of hockey together, so that felt good.”

Danault admitted, after missing four games, that he wanted to be back in the lineup for Moore’s 30th goal. He said he told his wife that earlier in the week he wanted to be in the lineup for it and when Moore did not bury number 30 in San Jose on Thursday, it set the stage for a Saturday return. Not the only reason for his return specifically on Saturday, but we’ll call it poetic timing. Arvidsson said that he told Moore prior to Saturday’s game that he would score goal number 30 that night. Turned out to be a prophet.

His regularly-scheduled linemates expressed a ton of joy in seeing Moore hit that number, with both involved in the play that made it happen.

Danault – I’m really proud of him, I think he really deserves it. He works really hard, he creates a lot of his chances by himself, always hunting, he’s dedicated and hungry. He deserves it.

Arvidsson – It’s good, I’m happy for him. He’s worked hard and it’s awesome to see someone like that get to those accomplishments, nice to see it go in.

While willing to entertain the questions, Moore certainly wanted to direct his thoughts towards what’s ahead, as opposed to what had already happened. It’s clear he was proud of the 30 goals, but he never set out to simply score 30 and move on. What’s also been clear is that Moore isn’t willing to cheat the game in order to find his numbers and he’s earned each goal he’s buried.

Jim Hiller regularly talks about how happy teammates get when players who work are the ones that score. After Moore’s hat trick on Wednesday against Seattle, he called Moore a player who “works like crazy” but is also “scoring like crazy this year.” He’s such a worker that everybody feels good when he scores. They certainly feel good when he does it 30 times in a season.

It’s not a thought process that applies just to Moore, but this season, you could probably call that philosophy the Trevor Moore Principle. He leads the team in goals heading into the final five games, while still being one of those guys who works and works hard.

“To me, he’s taken his game to another level this year,” Hiller added. “He doesn’t cheat you, he earns everything he gets, so he’s one of our most trusted defensive players. When you can score on top of that, you really add a lot of value to the team.”

A great success story, one that the team can hopefully rally around with the playoffs in sight.

Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/NHLI via Getty Images

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