Following in his Brothers’ Footsteps

By Brandon LeBourveau
When news first leaked that the Rangers traded the 38th overall selection in the 2000 Entry Draft to the Detroit Red Wings in return for the 64th and the 95th overall picks, many fans were puzzled with the move since the Rangers kept moving down in a draft already labeled as one of the weakest crops of talent in a few years. With the 38th overall selection, the Red Wings’ selected Tomas Kopecky, a tall and lanky forward from Slovakia. Kopecky was a player many teams had their eye on early in the 2nd round. The 6’3 187 lbs center/left wing is a highly skilled player with excellent offensive instincts and hockey sense. He was teammates with Minnesota Wild star Marian Gaborik in Slovakia during the 1999-2000 season, and finished up his first season of North American hockey last year with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL, totaling 50 points in 49 games. On the other side of the deal, the Rangers wound up with defenseman Filip Novak 64th overall and center Dominic Moore 95th overall. At first glance the deal looked one-sided in favor of the Red Wings who picked up a great talent in Tomas Kopecky, however now a year and a half later, the deal looks like an excellent one by Rangers’ General Manager Glen Sather. We all know that Filip Novak has emerged as one of the top defensive prospects in the world. What most people don’t know is how good the other player in this deal is, that being Dominic Moore.

Born on September 3, 1980 in Thornhill, Ontario, Dominic Moore has grown up watching and learning the game of hockey from his two older brothers, Mark and Steve, who currently are both playing professional hockey this season. Mark, a defenseman, was drafted in the 7th Round (179th overall) of the 1997 Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. After graduating from the Harvard University two years ago, Mark played 27 games in the ECHL last season and 11 games in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last season. This season he seems to have found his niche, appearing in 41 games for the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL, totaling 5 goals and 15 points, along with 30 penalty minutes. Steve, a forward, is the biggest of the three Moore brothers and was also drafted the highest, selected in the 2nd round (53rd overall) of the 1998 Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. Steve just graduated from Harvard from Harvard this past year, and is in his first season of professional hockey. In 39 games with the Hershey Bears, Steve has 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points and 19 penalty minutes. He also got a cup of coffee in the NHL with the Avalanche, tallying no points in three games. All three Moore brothers played for Harvard during the 1999-2000 season, which was the first time in the history of the school that a brother-trio played for their hockey team. Mark was in his senior year, Steve was a junior, and young Dominic was a freshman. Steve was the first one to reach the NHL, but it could be Dominic who makes the biggest impact in the National Hockey League.

Thanks in large part to his two older brothers’ guidance throughout the year, Dominic had an easy transition from the Aurora Tigers of the Ontario Provincial Jr. A League to college hockey. After tallying 100 points (36 goals, 64 assists) in 1998-99 with the Tigers, Dominic followed that up with an excellent rookie campaign in the ECAC. Dominic played in all 30 of Harvard’s games, notching 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points along with 28 minutes in penalties. He led Harvard in goals, and was the first freshman to achieve that feat since Ottawa Senators’ prospect Chris Bala did it in 1997-98. Dominic wound up tied for second in scoring for the Crimson with Bala, trailing only his brother Steve by two points. On two different occasions during the season Dom was named ECAC Rookie of the Week, and was voted to the ECAC All-Rookie Team. He scored two goals in only his second career college game, helping the Crimson to a 7-2 win over Dartmouth. He also was the highest drafted ECAC player that year, selected 95th overall by the Rangers. Dominic followed up his great rookie campaign with an even better sophomore year. He led Harvard in scoring with 15 goals and 28 assists for 43 points in 32 games. The 43 points were the most scored by a Crimson player since Steve Martins notched 60 back in 1993-94. He finished 5th in the ECAC in scoring, and his 6 shorthanded points (3 goals and 3 assists) were a conference best. His 3 shorthanded goals were fifth best in the entire country, as were his 6 game winning goals. He outscored his older brother Steve, who tallied 7 goals and 33 points, by 10 points. Basically everything went right for the 20 year old during the season, and he saw a big increase in his stock throughout the year.

So far this season, his junior year, Dom has been playing solid hockey despite not putting up as many points as the previous season. Through 17 games, he has totaled 18 points (7 goals and 11 assists) along with 31 minutes in penalties, which leads the team. He is averaging just about 1.05 points per game, down .29 points per game from last season. At this point, he is on pace for around 34 points which is still a respectable amount. He is third in scoring for the Crimson, behind Boston draft pick Brett Nowak, who leads the team with 20 points, and Columbus prospect Tyler Kolarik, who has 19 points. Moore has played in 1 less game with both of them, so all three of their numbers are comparable. Harvard has eight NHL draftees on their roster, and they have all chipped in and have helped the Crimson to a 9-6-3 overall record, and an 8-3-2 record in the ECAC.

Dominic Moore is what you would call a complete hockey player. The 21 year old plays a similar style to current Ranger Michael York, and we all know how valuable York is to the team. Moore is a great skater and has good straight-away speed. He’s a creative playmaker and has proven he has the ability to score goals. He has been one of the most exciting players to watch in college hockey over the last year, and coming into this season some were touting him as a potential Hobey Baker candidate, an award given each year to the nation’s top player. He plays a two-way game, and is sound defensively, something the Rangers sure could use from their forwards. Moore has the potential to possibly become a 2nd line center, but most likely will develop into a solid two-way third line center that will chip in at both ends of the ice.

With one more year of college eligibility left after this year, expect Dominic to remain in college and finish his senior year just like his two older brothers did before him. No one knows for sure what will happen, except for Dominic. In the opinion of this writer, he could probably benefit by playing a final season of junior hockey before turning pro. In another year when Moore graduates and signs a contract with the Rangers, expect him to play at least a season or two in the minors before stepping into the NHL. Although that is what people said about Michael York before he put on a show during training camp and eventually led the team in scoring as a rookie and finishing third in voting for the Calder Trophy. The Rangers have been lucky when it comes to selecting college players over the past few years, and Moore is just another one of those solid picks.