Dominic Moore came back for his second stint in a Leafs uniform, signing as a free agent in the 2017 offseason after making his way to seven other NHL teams in the meantime. After the departure of Brian Boyle as a free agent, and the team deciding to not really stick with any of Ben Smith, Frederik Gauthier, or Eric Fehr, Moore won the job early on in the season as the role of fourth-line centre. While he’d be bumped as a regular in the lineup by the end of the season (mostly by the arrival of Tomas Plekanec, but also through the emergence of Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen), Moore suited up for more than half of the Leafs’ games this season.
So, what was Dominic Moore this season? The stats paint him, as well, a below average fourth-line player, and I doubt there’s really few who would disagree with that. Moore played a little over an hour on the penalty kill this season, with the Leafs surrendering 8.82 goals/ 60 minutes while he was on the ice, slightly below their average of 6.38.
Moore wasn’t so bad that he was a drain on the team’s chances of success or a liability on the ice, but he didn’t exactly inspire the world either.
When Dominic Moore was in the lineup, Babcock played him less often at 5v5 than a typical 4th line forward. pic.twitter.com/jYNW1SnnZ9
— Ziggy (@Ziggy_14) April 21, 2018
He scored a bit more than average, and got next to no primary assists. Nothing to write home about here.
It was hard to find a Leaf player who had a more forgettable campaign than Moore. It’s hard to really expect too much from a player who’s topped just 30 points twice in his career, but his 0.24 points per game average was the third lowest of his career.
Moore finished third on the team in faceoff takers with a 54.3% faceoff percentage, but as every Leaf who took at least 100 faceoffs performed at least even or better, it’s not like he had some unique skillset the Leafs’ couldn’t find elsewhere.
It’s hard to really remember a Leafs game that was more fun than this one. Auston Matthews and William Nylander scored, but so did Moore and Matt Martin. And then, in the game’s most memorable moment, Kris Russell put the puck in his own net for the winner with 65 seconds remaining on a goal that’d be credited to Patrick Marleau. Inexplicable and hilarious, and never would’ve been made possible without Moore’s above goal.
Moore has played for four of the NHL’s six Original Six clubs.
Maybe it’s the skeptic in me, but I can’t see the Leafs jumping to sign a guy who played just 15 minutes over the team’s playoff run. Nothing in his game suggests he’s due for a turnaround, and very much seemed like a stopgap between the Leafs bringing up any of their possible internal options for next year. Turning 38 before the next season starts, there’s a very likely possibility that Moore has played his last game in the NHL. There’s a chance a team signs him as a veteran presence or in a tank role, but it seems like his days on a contending NHL team have passed him by.