When the Edmonton Oilers traded Mark Letestu to the Columbus Blue Jackets (via Nashville) at the trade deadline, they opened up a hole on the fourth line for the 2018-19 season. Many are penciling Jujhar Khaira in for the role, but there is a legit argument to be made that he is better off on the wing.
If that is in fact the case, then the Oilers will need a pivot to play with Khaira and right winger Zack Kassian on line four this season.
Enter Dominic Moore, the 37-year old pivot who fits Edmonton’s needs and fits the type of player that GM Peter Chiarelli has always taken a chance on.
Why Is He Out There?:
After a solid 2016-17 season in Boston, Moore signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for his second tour of duty with the club on July 1st. He was supposed to be a veteran presence for coach Mike Babcock, handling the fourth line center role.
For whatever reason, Moore never earned the trust of his coach, and struggled to get into the lineup at times. He played in just 50 regular season games, and only drew into two of Toronto’s seven playoff contests this past spring.
It seems more than likely that the Leafs will let him walk as a free agent on July 1st.
What Does He Do Well?:
Remember all that talk about the Oilers missing Matt Hendricks and his veteran leadership during the season? Well, Moore would certainly help fill that void and appease the Oil in that regard. He’s been in the league full-time since 2005-06, appearing in close to 900 regular season contests.
Although he’s a left-shot center, Moore does fill some holes in Edmonton. He’s a solid fourth line center who has the ability to chip in some offense on occasion, is a fine skater, can play on the penalty kill and possesses strong defensive instincts.
Boxcars wise, Moore posted 6-6-12 in his 50 games with the Leafs, down from a solid 2016-17 campaign in Boston where he registered 25 points (11-14-25) in 82 tilts.
Moore averaged 10:18 TOI-per-game in Toronto this past season while posting a Corsi For percentage of 49.3%. (All numbers via Hockey-Reference)
Here’s a look at Moore’s scouting report via The Hockey News.
Assets: Has excellent hockey sense and defensive instincts. Always gives maximum effort on the ice. Gets under opponents’ skin. Skates very well, can score when it matters and is versatile up front.
Flaws: Is smallish in stature, which negates some of his checking prowess. Lacks offensive consistency, so he is never a good top-six forward option. Doesn’t score enough goals for the chances he receives.
Career Potential: Veteran energy forward and checker.
Where Will He Play/Where Should He Play?:
Moore is a fourth line NHL’er at this stage of his career. In Edmonton, that’s exactly where he would line up, as the Connor McDavid/Leon Draisaitl/Ryan Strome trio would clearly be slotted ahead of him.
Moore would be eligible for a Seattle expansion draft, although there really isn’t reason to worry here. I highly doubt he earns a multi-year deal this summer and would be surprised if he is still playing come June of 2020.
What Will He Cost?:
Moore got a one-year deal worth $1,000,000 last July 1st from the Maple Leafs. After being a spare part in Toronto, I think another one-year deal is all Moore will be able to generate this summer. In terms of dollars, I could see $900,000 getting it done.
Dominic Moore fits the template of role player that Peter Chiarelli likes to cultivate. He’s a veteran who has been around the block and is likely on his last legs. Chiarelli did this in Boston with guys like Brian Rolston, Wade Redden, Mark Recchi, Mike Motteau and more. He’s already done it in Edmonton with Mike Cammalleri.
Moore would be a very cheap option in terms of cap dollars and would provide Edmonton with a veteran option on line four.
Moore can help in some areas that Edmonton was inadequate at last season, and he fits the mold of management and coaching’s preferred hires. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a call from the Oilers should he decide to keep playing.