I always thought John Moore was a very underrated signing for the New Jersey Devils. Yes, his numbers aren’t that flashy, but I sincerely believe Moore hasn’t come close to reaching his ceiling. Whether it’s to justify protecting Moore at the expansion draft or his security as a Devil going into next season (the final year of his contract), I think the Devils have an under-appreciated and highly resourceful defensive asset in the 26-year old defenseman.
I mentioned in a previous article that Ray Shero has signed defensemen like John Moore and Ben Lovejoy, to plug in regular lineup spots. Let’s keep in mind the organization’s defensive depth is practically nonexistent, and they don’t have any promising prospects coming up the pipeline. To reiterate, Moore is still 26 and has plenty of years left. He’s at the perfect age to hone his development at a steady pace that coincides with the rate New Jersey is rebuilding. Like I also mentioned in that previous article, the Devils need to establish a core of tenured players like they had between the mid-90s and late-00s. Moore is a perfect candidate.
As of writing this, Moore has nine goals and 19 points in 56 contests. He only trails Damon Severson (31), and is the first Devil defenseman to score nine goals in a season since Marek Zidlicky (12) in 2013-2014. His shooting percentage (11.4%) is the highest among Devils defensemen with at least 30 contests played, and has the second-most shots per game (1.4) as well.
If you’re not yet convinced of Moore’s long term viability with the Devils, he’s hit 19 points (tied career-high) in back-to-back years. While those numbers don’t seem like much, Moore did so in 18 less games after missing a chunk of this season due to injury. He would currently be on pace for 12 goals and 25 points after 75 games. Moore could very much set new career numbers over these final seven games, meaning he’s continually improved production-wise since signing with New Jersey.
It’s probably not a coincidence this happens on the first team that Moore’s been used in the lineup regularly. In both seasons with the Devils, Moore’s averaged at least 18 minutes of ice time, which he never had during his stints with the Coyotes, Rangers, and Blue Jackets. In 358 of Moore’s career games, He’s played 86 with Columbus, 19 with Arizona, 125 with the Rangers, and is set to play his 126th game with the Devils. Despite the past two Devils squads not being the best of teams, Moore has been a reliable asset for the Devils coaching staff, and has proven his ability to play efficiently within the Devils system. These are all essential attributes in what the Devils should be looking for in candidates for their long-term plans.