Moore Brings Size, Mobility to Back End
Blue liner was inked to five-year deal on July 1by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com
BOSTON - For John Moore and the Boston Bruins, the feeling was mutual.
Entering the free agency period, the 27-year-old defenseman was not completely comfortable with the process of selling himself and his abilities to general managers across the league. That part - as well as negotiations surrounding money and term - would be left up to his agent.
But when Don Sweeney and the Bruins came calling, there was not much selling to be done - on either side.
Boston saw a clear fit for the left-shot, smooth-skating blue liner, and Moore saw a team capable of contending for a title, while also providing the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream.
"My grandfather grew up, [was] born and raised in Dorchester, so my family is pretty familiar with the city," said Moore, who spent the last three seasons with the New Jersey Devils. "He's a life-long Bruins fan and that kind of translated to my dad. Growing up in Chicago, though, it's kind of tough to follow the Bruins, but I've always had a very deep appreciation for this franchise.
"You look from an outsider's perspective, the culture, guys like [Patrice] Bergeron and [Zdeno] Chara. It's just really exciting to join that…an opportunity to join a team like the Bruins…it looks like a really close team.
"An opportunity to join that and to grow my game and continue to get better is something I just couldn't pass up, so. They were at the top of my list for the entire period."
So when the clock struck noon on July 1, it didn't take long for the Bruins to ink Moore to a five-year deal worth an average annual value of $2.75 million, a move that deepens Boston's defense corps and provides versatility for coach Bruce Cassidy.
"The last two years in the playoffs, really, when you're running through 10 [defensemen] two years ago - we went through all eight this this year. Brandon [Carlo] hasn't even had a chance to play in the playoffs," Sweeney said of the importance of adding bodies on the back end, while also not ruling out a trade involving one of his existing defensemen.
"It may seem congested as we sit today, but to tell you the truth, we're really happy, because when you get into the year and you're wondering, 'OK, where does that guy come from?' You've got to go find him and acquire him and [who knows] what that acquisition cost may be."
In addition to strengthening the team's defensive depth, Sweeney was also interested in adding size, particularly on the left side. With Torey Krug and Matt Grzelcyk both standing at 5-foot-9, Moore and his 6-foot-2-inch frame brings some beef and brawn behind Zdeno Chara.
With that size, however, also comes mobility and some timely scoring touch. The eight-year NHL veteran - who has also played the right side - posted seven goals and 11 assists in 81 games for the Devils last season, after notching a career-high 12 goals in 2016-17. Since the NHL shifted to the 3-on-3 overtime format in 2015-16, Moore leads all defensemen with six goals in extra time.
"We felt that the opportunity to add a player of that nature fit into how Bruce wants to play: getting back to retrieve pucks, be able to defend with his feet against faster, bigger, stronger players complements the group we have," said Sweeney. "Overall, I think we have better balance in terms of what we can present each and every night as a matchup for our team."
Video: Highlights From New Bruins defenseman John Moore
While Moore certainly boasts a balanced set of skills at both ends of the rink, he is far from satisfied with the growth of his game. The former first-round pick knows he must continue to adapt in what has become an ever-changing, ever-evolving NHL.
"I think in this league you're either growing or your dying and I pride myself everyday on getting better and growing my game," said Moore, who was selected 21st overall by Columbus in 2009. "Whatever the coaching staff asks me, whatever role they want, they see me in, I try and fit that to a "T" and everyone wants to be accountable offensively without sacrificing defense and at my age I feel like I'm coming into the prime of my career.
"I want to get better in all aspects. Not just offensively, but every day, doing the little thing to get better. You look at a guy like Zdeno Chara and look at his approach to the game on and off the ice, it's a really inspiring thing and I'm really excited to join that group led by him."