NHL draft: Edmonton Oilers’ second-round draft pick Moroz ‘couldn’t be happier’
By Joanne Ireland, edmontonjournal.com
June 23, 2012
Mitchell Moroz, 32nd overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers, poses for a portrait during day two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Photograph by: Jamie Sabau , Getty Images
PITTSBURGH - The moment hadn’t really sunk in for Mitch Moroz, who sat at the podium with an Edmonton Oilers hat perched on his head, a treasured team jersey on his back, and a grin fixed on his face.
The Edmonton Oil Kings winger, selected with the second pick of the second round (32nd overall), couldn’t have scripted a better finish to his year.
“This is unbelievable,” Moroz said on Saturday when the NHL’s scouts settled in to round out their rosters with their second- to seventh-round selections.
On the opening day, the Oilers had taken winger Nail Yakupov, adding more offensive punch to their lineup. Then they focused on adding some size and sandpaper.
Moroz, the third of the Oil Kings selected in the first of the 32 picks, has both. The six-foot-two, 208-pound, left-shooting winger, chipped in 16 goals, nine assists and served 131 penalty minutes in 66 Western Hockey League games last season.
“I’m a big power forward and that’s an area they needed to improve, and I’m hoping to address that,” continued Moroz.
“I enjoy playing the game that way. It’s the only way I’m going to play moving forward.”
His teammates, defenceman Griffin Reinhart (New York Islanders, fourth overall) and forward Henrik Samuelsson (Phoenix Coyotes, 27th overall), preceded him on the draft floor. Taking it all in was Oil Kings general manager Bob Green, who hopes to have the three back when training camp opens on Aug. 23.
Reinhart has the best shot of making an NHL roster this fall, but no matter the outcome, their selections, coupled with the Oil Kings Memorial Cup run, should boost Edmonton’s recruiting efforts.
“There’s a lot of work left for them, but this is a great step,” said Green. “Sometimes more exposure isn’t a good thing, but those kids took advantage of it, especially Henrik. He probably had the best Memorial Cup and probably helped himself the most.
“But this helps (the program) a lot. The younger guys want to play with these kids. Maybe this will help us next week when we do the import draft as well. It shows we develop our young guys and get them ready for the National Hockey League.”
Moroz was born in Edmonton and spent his first three years there before his family moved to Calgary. He was, however, brought up as an Oilers fan, so he does not have to switch allegiances.
“My fondest memory was going to Game 4 in Edmonton versus the Sharks (during the 2006 Stanley Cup playoff run),” he said. “They had a big comeback run, and it was just cool for me. I still remember that … (and) longtime Oiler Ryan Smyth is somebody I look up to. Growing up, I had a lot of different favourite players, but he is my idol.
“Just being in that rink and knowing all that history, is some neat,” Moroz continued. “All my meetings with Edmonton had gone really well, and I knew they liked how I played, but it’s still a surprise for me. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go … I couldn’t be happier.”
He’s also somewhat winded, given all that has transpired this season.
“We didn’t have much of a break. We had a couple of days off (after the Memorial Cup), me and Griff went straight to Toronto for the combine, then I took a few days off before I got back in the gym. Everything has happened so fast. It’s still a whirlwind. It’s unbelievable.”
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