We are less than a month away from the 2023 NHL Draft, where the Washington Capitals will have the 8th overall selection. In preparation for the pick we have presented a series of draft profiles for players that could be potentially selected by the Capitals. This week we take a look at Minnesota native Oliver Moore.
OLIVER MOORE – (18) – 5’11” – 176LBS, C, U18 US National Team (NTDP)
Moore is committed to the University of Minnesota for the upcoming season, where he will join Capitals second round pick Ryan Chesley. The 18-year-old was expected to fill large voids on the Golden Gophers’ roster, but with Logan Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud returning for their sophomore seasons, Moore does not have to worry about putting up similar offensive numbers in his first year. Playing with those two superstars will help his development going forward.
Coming into the draft, Moore has been overshadowed by teammates Will Smith, Ryan Leonard and Gabe Perreault. Smith and Leonard are projected to go in the top 5 and Smith will go in the top 10.
Moore could slide just outside the top 10 because of the players ahead of him, but his speed could easily make him a high choice.
This past season with the U18 US National Team, in the National Team Development Program, he had 75 points (31 goals, 44 assists), which was fourth on the team. The Mounds View, Minn., native was the second line center behind Leonard.
In the USHL, he had 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) with the NTDP junior team. Furthermore, he had nine points (four goals, five assists) at the World Junior Championship.
Moore is without question the fastest skater in the draft, and probably the best skater overall. He can burn defensemen with his straightaway speed, or fool them with his agile edges.
Oliver Moore is a ridiculous skater pic.twitter.com/r44UazpRYN
— TLY (@TheLibertyYell) May 25, 2023
“The speed is the No. 1 thing that stands out when you see him play,” said Dan Muse, Moore’s coach with USA Hockey’s National U17 team. “He’s really good on his edges and able to separate from opponents with the puck. He’s really hard to defend due to his speed and the skill that he has with it. He can do things at a really high rate with the puck.”
Moore’s shot is also one of the best. He can pick corners with ease due to his lightning quick release and powerful shot.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) April 23, 2023
An underrated aspect to his game is his hunger for pucks and compete level. Moore is excellent at stealing pucks from opponents on the backcheck and going on the counterattack.
Moore’s stock is slowly rising because of his elite speed. Any team in the NHL could always add more speed to its lineup. We mentioned in our Matvei Michkov profile that he is the ultimate wild card. However, Moore is another wild card where there is no real consensus on him.
The first thing anyone says about Oliver Moore is his incredible speed and for a good reason. In an incredibly deep draft class filled with high-skill centers, he might be the fastest of the bunch. He can get up to top speed in the blink of an eye, and if he’s given any space, he can blow by opponents like they were standing still. That level of speed allows him to dictate the flow of the game, as does his agility. He can spot and turn on a dime and change speed effortlessly, ensuring that no matter what happens, as long as he has the puck, his team will get a scoring chance. But Moore is much more than just a fast skater. He has a blistering shot with a quick release that’s led to him scoring 26 times this season with the United States U18 Development Program, which puts him fourth on a very skilled team, as well as another eight goals with the USNTDP Juniors in the United States Hockey League (USHL). That puts him on pace to hit similar totals to Trevor Zegras or Clayton Keller during their time in the program.
He wants to hang onto the puck and make plays but he’ll also hurry it up and dominate in and out of give-and-gos. He’s got an impressive one-timer from the right flank and can really lean into and rip his catch-and-release or in-stride wrister to score from the high slot. He has added a ton of strength since arriving at the program so that he can overwhelm junior-level players with his power and speed. He has learned to use some clever movement patterns to make defenseman miss and get to his spots as a shooter. He’s strong in the faceoff circle. Increasingly, his game isn’t all just about the speed/hound element and I’ve been impressed by his puck protection in and out of stops and starts in the offensive zone, changing directions to beat defenders off the all-into valuable ice.
Moore continues to display a high-octane, fast, competitive style. There is no question he plays to his max every time he rolls over the boards. I appreciate his small area game. He can escape pressure with tight turns and pivots. I am, however, concerned about how high end his offense projects to be as an NHL player. Moore isn’t the easiest linemate to play with. He tends to play to his strengths and at times lacks some vision and playmaking with his wingers. At worst he is a 3F who can very likely play the middle, the wing and be used in an energy/penalty-killing role. His projected versatility gives him an edge on some other prospects.
NHL Central Scouting: 8 (Among NA skaters)
Daily Faceoff: 7
By Jacob Cheris