The LA Kings defensive prospect will look to build off of his strong 2020-21 season, his first in the American Hockey League.
The Ontario Reign will be bringing back Swedish defenseman Jacob Moverare, signing him to a one-year, two-way deal worth $750,000.
The @LAKings have re-signed defenseman Jacob Moverare to a one-year, two-way contract extension ($750K AAV). The team has now inked each of its qualified, restricted free agents to new deals.— Zach Dooley (@DooleyLAK) August 13, 2021
In just 26 games with the Reign last season, Moverare had a goal and 14 assists. His 15 points led all Ontario defensemen and were sixth-most on the team (for players with at least 20 games) in points-per-game with 0.58.
Those 14 assists also put him in the 90th percentile in assists-per-game (0.54) among AHL defensemen last season:
The 6-foot-3 blueliner, known more for his defensive side of the game, was considered the Reign’s most impressive player last season by head coach John Wroblewski:
“Just, you weren’t sure how a first-year North American pro would fare coming in; then, a little bit of an injury to start off a season, so then you really don’t know what you have,” Coach Wrobo noted. “And then, you’re sort of underwhelmed initially because he’s not the most fluid skater but then, all of a sudden, you notice he does a good beat and then he’s facilitating all kinds of offense and making such heady plays with the puck on a consistent basis.”
Drafted in Round 4 of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Moverare was said to have the “highest IQ” of any defenseman in the draft, according to the Kings’ Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti. You can see it in his movements how well he thinks the game, and it has helped to allow him to develop his skating, which needed work coming out of the draft.
His high hockey IQ is likely why he could nab some power-play time on a loaded Reign roster in 2020-21. Three of his 14 assists were on the man advantage.
I don’t think the expectation should be that Moverare suddenly becomes a point-producing offensive defenseman, but his ability to read the play and his smart movements with the puck will allow him to contribute in transition.
Before those 26 games in Ontario, Moverare was loaned to SaiPai Lappeenranta of the SM-Liiga in Finland. He picked up five assists in 50 games.
Much like the forward group in the organization, the defense is becoming crowded as well. Along with Moverare, the Reign’s left-side could include any combination of Kale Clague, Christian Wolanin, Markus Phillips, Tobias Bjornfot, or, dare I say, Olli Maatta. Check out the latest Hockey Royalty Podcast, where the guys broke down this scenario and the numerous possibilities available since the signing of Alex Edler.
While Moverare should comfortably fill a top-four role, like Clague, he would need to clear waivers to be in the AHL. More tough decisions are on the horizon for Kings’ General Manager Rob Blake.