The Toronto Marlies have done a great job developing players over the years, but their biggest success story arguably comes in the form of minute winger Trevor Moore. In my opinion, no one on the current Leafs roster had to go through more hoops to play an NHL game than Moore. Not Andreas Johnsson, who was a seventh-round pick, who should’ve gone higher if not for his asthma. Not Justin Holl, who was a former second round pick and had a pedigree before coming to the Marlies. Not even Zach Hyman, who came to the Leafs from the NCAA, since he was drafted in the fourth round and arrived via trade.
Signed to an ELC following three years at the University of Denver, Moore, a California native, fought for every second of ice time he could get in his three years with the Marlies, moving his way up the lineup from a scratch to a first liner who helped lead the team to a 2018 Calder Cup, just like he had done in every league he had played in growing up. His determination, desperation, and fight has carried him through to the NHL; it’s why he has a two-year one-way NHL contract, and it’s why he’s cracked our top-10 today.
Back in 2018, when he was ranked 15th by our writers, his highest vote was 12th, by me, just wanted to brag about that for a second. This year, Moore was ranked no lower than 12th by the group and was ranked as high as eighth by some. He was ahead of all the other fringe and fourth-line players and only behind the top-end players and prospects. He even beat Nicholas Robertson (for better or worse)!
Now that Moore has climbed the ladder and made it to the NHL, the question now becomes how much moore can he bring? His play exceeded expectations on the fourth line with Frederik Gauthier and Tyler Ennis in his half-season stint on the big club. Now there’s a spot in the top-nine that’s open on the left side for one of Moore, Ilya Mikheyev and the handful of UFAs the Leafs signed over the summer. He has a real chance to take it and push the boundaries even further.
Asking for Moore
Why am I so high on Moore? Because the little bugger just never gives up; he finds ways to generate chances for himself out of nothing; he does everything the coach asks of him; and he’s simply a lot of fun to watch. Last season he was on the Gauthier line, playing a shot suppression style that worked quite well. This season he has a chance to play a more offensive role with speedy and talented forwards Alexander Kerfoot and Kasperi Kapanen.
Back in the AHL, Moore played on several skill lines, including with Johnsson and Miro Aaltonen, and Chris Mueller and Jeremy Bracco. In those years he was a very good forechecker and transition player, often opening up space and causing chaos for the other team with his speed and smarts.
His time with Bracco and Adam Brooks was especially eye-opening as they seemed to be able to create and sustain cycles in the offensive zone for what felt like forever. Creating chances, winning battles, keeping the pressure on. In the AHL there was no problems with Moore’s level of skill, he had enough to do a lot of damage from top lines. In the NHL this could be a little tougher, but if he can play a good support role with two skilled players like Kerfoot and Kapanen, he won’t need to dangle everyone out of the building. That said, he does know how to finish.
Speed, Shooting, Smarts
Whether you’re an avid Marlies watcher or a Leafs fan who noticed him in December of last year, how many times have you seen Moore grab the puck from his centreman at his own blueline, rush up the ice, around a defender eager to bounce him off the puck, down the wing and past a goalie from a bad angle. Way too many times for it to be a fluke.
Moore has buh-bye speed and even though he uses the same move every time (or the one where he stops on a dime and passes it to his first teammate in) it’s still too quick and too powerful for the defenders he is facing to do anything about it. Moore feasted on fourth lines and third pairs last year, whether or not he can keep it up against tougher competition will be the big question that likely gets answered between September and November.
Another thing about Moore that gives him more value than the rest is his work ethic and competency on the penalty kill. We didn’t see this on the Maple Leafs as he only played two shifts for a grand total of 46 seconds, but on the Marlies, he and Brooks were a beast of a pair. Moore was never one to laze around, hustling all around the ice, forcing the power play to make something happen or make a mistake. And it’s not like he was reckless with this either, he was very vocal on the kill, calling out plays and assignments and switches from in front. He was a leader on and off the ice and I think that confidence has only grown in his time with the Leafs.
From the Masthead
Here’s what Brigs, Fulemin, and Katya had to say about Moore. All three threw cold water on my optimistic take, which I think is warranted since we haven’t seen Moore do anything beyond fourth line duty. There’s enough evidence from the eye-test to be fairly sure he can keep that spot next season, even when the data is only 220 minutes deep, but anything beyond that is throwing darts at a dart board.
I didn’t have him quite this high, but he’s pretty much the cutoff point in these rankings for me. On the side above him are all the maybes and depth guys who seem more uncertain to even make the NHL. Then there’s Moore himself who seems certain to at least be a serviceable NHLer. After him are guys who are already or have a good chance to be better than just serviceable. He seems like the floor of what I’d like Robertson to be: tenacious on the puck, responsible, some offensive upside, a good player to add to the wing of more skilled players.
I think people might be slightly carried away with Moore as the New Hotness. But I like the energy he brings to our bottom six and he’s reliable at either end of the rink. That is very cool.
Nick Robertson won out in the Trevor Moore vs a prospect equation for me. In fact, I ranked Moore, Nic Petan and Ilya Mikheyev as a single tier of no-longer young, likely NHLers, likely not difference-makers. I ranked Moore the highest of the three at 11. The two defence prospects and Robertson had to be ranked over them, and in my mind the gap between Moore and everyone above him is a substantial one. Moore is on the wrong side of this break between the meaningful prospects/players and the rest of the pack. That’s a spot Josh Leivo used to hold, and where Connor Brown sat in last year. And every year I say to myself that I should have ranked that guy lower and put more prospects ahead of him. We’ll see if I still feel that way next year.
What line will Moore play most of his minutes on next season?
|In the press box||14|