Oliver Moore is a one-of-a-kind prospect in the 2023 NHL Draft. He’s a goalscoring centre who doesn’t fit in most of your traditional player archetypes, with a wide array of tools and skills that you see in many of the NHL’s best players. The first one you notice with this player is his speed.
“I’ve always been a faster player, but I’ve definitely developed more kind of dominant speed ever since I’ve gotten older and stronger in the weight room. It’s developed over time,” Moore told EP Rinkside. “I think [Nathan] MacKinnon is a guy I like to watch but a comparable could be Dylan Larkin. Just the way he uses his speed. In the neutral zone especially. Off the rush. I hope I get to that level someday.”
Moore’s a player who tries to make every shift count. He plays with a purpose and always empties the tank. It’s something any coach wants from their players.
“Every time I am out there, I’m just trying to make the right play. Whether that’s shooting or passing. Just trying to make the right reads out there,” Moore said. “I’m trying to be an all-around player, not just a one-dimensional one.”
His skating is elite. You don’t just get there by accident. It’s a combination of hard work and the correct coaching, and Moore has both at his disposal. That’s one reason why playing with the NTDP is fantastic. Another good reason is as a player you get to play with top-tier talent, and that helps make you a better player over time. Then he pinpointed why it has happened to him.
“Working on explosiveness in the weight room. A lot of leg stuff,” Moore replied.
I always ask players who rules the shooting room. Moore gave me a player I didn’t expect, and sometimes that’s the most valuable inside information you can get. Moore is very competitive and talked about his teammate because he loses some shooting games to him. I was surprised he named a defenseman.
“Kai Janviriya has the best shot,” Moore revealed. “He’s always in there and his shot is very accurate. I’m always battling him in PIG.”
You can see on the ice that Moore is a team player but when you ask how his season is going, he talks about his teammates first – he really sends the message home.
“The season is going well, and the team is having success. When the team is having success that usually means more individual success. It’s going well. I like where my game is going,” Moore said.
Moore played in the All-American Game and was on a team with a lot of USHL talent. His NTDP teammates were split between the two teams.
“It’s cool to play with the USHL guys. See what it’s like with the high-level USHL guys and play on a team with them,” Moore said.
He knew he was being watched and scrutinized, but it didn’t matter to him.
“I just want to go out there and play hockey, I don’t want to think about all the scouts or anything. I just want to be in the moment,” Moore stated.
Moore got the first goal of the game. It was a wrist shot high. But he was more impressive on face-offs and just being in tune with the little details of the game. That stood out. Moore is the kind of player who plays well under bright lights. That’s his makeup.
Moore really wants to compete at the NHL Combine.
“That would be cool. It’s something you watched as a kid growing up. Kind of seeing where you are at physically with everyone else here. That’s something cool to see,” said Moore.
Here are one scout’s thoughts about Oliver:
“He’s probably the fastest kid in the draft. He’s explosive. He has elite top speed. Offensively he’s dangerous with that speed. He’s creating more now through his playmaking, and he can score too. He’s a player an NHL team will win with. His effort is outstanding. He hunts pucks. He takes pucks away. He’s excellent defensively using his speed to back pressure. He can play centre or wing. NHL coaches will find a lot of ways to use him, and with his character and speed, there’s no miss factor. “
Moore won’t even allow himself to talk about being drafted.
“Gotta get there first. But hopefully if that happens there will be a lot of family members there. Nashville is a cool city. That will be awesome,” Moore imagined, and then wondered what it would be like to get yelled at by the VO2 Max guy.
“You’re probably so fatigued at that point you aren’t going to hear him. Kind of in your own head, but that’s something you did see growing up. It would be kind of cool.”
I posed a tough question to the Mounds View, Minnesota native. If you were locked in the Mall of America, where is the first place you would go?
“I like the SpongeBob ride there. As a kid, that was the biggest ride there. It was fun.”
Moore is a good runner. He ran because he saw another family member showing a big commitment to it. And it eventually steered him toward a life in hockey.
“I was a mile runner in track. My mom ran ten marathons. She was going to the Boston Marathon. Seeing your parents doing that, you look up to them, so I ran track,” Moore reminisced. “Growing up seeing her commit to something like that meant something to me, and it ended up being hockey.”
A Minnesota native, joining the Gophers next season. It’s all laid out for him, and so far, he’s taking full advantage of his opportunities.