The title of the Chilliwack Bruins’ recent documentary and showcase video featuring Kings 2nd round pick Oscar Moller was “Oscar Moller: Living the Dream.
” Moller just completed one of his childhood dreams this past week: suiting up for his homeland, Sweden, in international competition. His Swedish squad not only competed – they nearly knocked off the most powerful hockey nation in the world for the second time in one tournament.
Moller’s Swedes were broken with an overtime goal in the gold medal game. Many media outlets had Sweden predicted to finish fifth or sixth in the tournament – not win their preliminary group, the toughest of the two, or get past Russia to get to the gold medal game. It was all a bit surreal for Moller, a Stockholm native; it was his first international appearance.
“I’ve got to admit, I was a little bitter when Canada scored that goal in overtime. It was too bad we didn’t win the gold medal – but it was great. We had a lot of fun and we were a good team,” Moller said from back in his “new home” in British Columbia.
It must have been tough to pick up and move almost 6,000 miles away from home as a 17 year old. Moller, however, knew it was something he needed to do in order to fulfill his dream of playing in the NHL someday. The transition went smoothly according to Moller.
“I don’t think the adjustment the first year was that big. I had a lot of good people around me and they helped make the adjustment a lot quicker for me,” Moller said. “I think my style of play really suits me in North America – being on the ice helped.”
Back in Europe for the World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic, Moller finally had a chance to sit back and compare the international play to play in the major junior leagues. He immediately noticed a difference in the speed of the game.
“The ice is bigger, so obviously there is a little more skating – but everyone in the World Juniors is bigger and faster. All of the players are great players and everyone is strong and fast,” Moller commented.
Team Sweden’s mentality in the World Junior Championships was a lot like Moller’s mentality coming into North America. Moller earned a spot on Chilliwack’s squad with his ultimate goal of playing in the NHL someday. He wasn’t a heralded prospect originally, but ended up being selected by the Kings in the 2nd round last season after an impressive rookie season. Sweden wasn’t picked to finish higher than fifth in the tournament. Both Moller and his nation have done better than anyone expected.
“A lot of people didn’t have us in the gold medal game, but that was really our goal. We had a ‘gold medal mentality,’” Moller said. “All of those predictions really fueled us to get to the top.”
Moller finished the tournament scoring 3-2=5 with a +3 rating in six games. He scored two points (1-1=2) in Sweden’s 10-1 rout of Denmark on Dec. 28, scored a big goal in Sweden’s 4-3 upset of Canada on Dec. 29, snapping a streak of 19-straight victories for Canada in the tournament and closed out with another two points (1-1=2) in Sweden’s 4-2 victory over Czech Republic on Dec. 31.
Moller is as fueled as anyone to get to the top. After participating in the Kings Rookie Camp this summer and the recent World Juniors, Moller realizes that he still has a lot to work on in order to get to the next level.
“I need to work on my strength and my balance, mostly. I need to continue to work on all of my good skills too – like my shot and my skating. You need to work on every detail in order to get to the top,” Moller said.
If Moller continues to work on these things and continues to adapt to living in North America, he will someday soon find himself wearing Kings purple. It’s one of the only dreams that Moller has yet to conquer.
He won’t give up trying either.