It was nearly one year ago when eyebrows may have been raised ever-so-slightly at the five-year, $21 million contract extension that Trevor Moore inked with the LA Kings. While Moore was coming off the best year of his career (17 goals, 48 points in the 2021-22 season), it was still the only season he’d scored more than ten goals or accumulated more than 30 points.
Injuries would derail much of his 2022-23 season, playing in just 59 games, and scoring 29 points.
But the Thousand Oaks native had done enough in the organization’s mind to commit to a long-term contract extension. Similarly, there were things “under the hood” that made Moore a potential breakout candidate for the 2023-24 season and the subject of my bold prediction before this season started.
Now healthy again, Moore is proving why that extension was a smart decision by Rob Blake and Co.
Whether at even strength, power play, or penalty kill, Moore is an integral part of the roster.
According to Natural Stat Trick, Moore’s on-ice numbers are excellent across the board. He owns a 56.4% CF% and a 56.7% xGF%. This is nothing new. In 2022-23, he was second among forwards on the LA Kings in each of those statistics.
He’s also been, arguably, the team’s best point producer at 5-on-5 as he leads the team in goals (5), is second in primary assists (3), and is first in primary points (8).
What’s helping him achieve those production numbers is how involved he is in generating scoring chances. Moore leads the team in overall shot contributions at 5-on-5 and leads the LA Kings in shot contributions per 60 minutes.
The 28-year-old has more than earned the trust of his coaching staff. Not only the fact that he plays in all situations, but he is seeing the majority of the ice time when the game is tied or the LA Kings are trailing by one:
Historically that time has always gone to Anze Kopitar. And while that may end up being the case by season’s end, Moore is being leaned on in the early going in tight games.
Overall, Moore is tied with Quinton Byfield for the third-most points on the LA Kings (12). This production has continued with the man advantage. Despite being on the second power-play unit, Moore is tied for the team lead in power-play goals (2) and is second in power-play points (4).
His xGF impacts while on the power play are impressive as well:
According to Natural Stat Trick, only PL Dubois has a higher individual xGF while on the power play, and Dubois has seen over 20 minutes more of power play time.
Trevor Moore has been one of the top producers at even strength on the LA Kings and he’s been, quietly, one of the better power play producers as well. What if I told you he’s also one of the best penalty killers on the team, too?
Last season the LA Kings were 24th in the NHL with a penalty kill rate of 75.8%. This season, they’re ninth with an 86.1% rate. Now, this isn’t to say it’s all because of Trevor Moore (it’s not), but his xGA/60 impacts are quite noticeable in the time he’s been on the ice versus when he hasn’t been.
Success on the penalty kill is also not new to Moore. In the 2021-22 season, he led the NHL in short-handed goals with five.
Whether even strength or special teams, Moore has been one of LA’s most important players.
To that end, Evolving Hockey has a statistic called Goals Above Replacement (GAR). Not unlike Wins Above Replacement (WAR) commonly used in baseball, GAR attempts to assign a single-number value to an individual player based on different metrics. Though it is still early, and the sample size is small, Trevor Moore is currently tops on the LA Kings in this stat and is 13th in the NHL – just ahead of the likes of Mikko Rantanen and Jesper Bratt.
Though there was a lot in his underlying numbers to suggest that a breakout was coming, LA Kings’ color commentator Jim Fox has mentioned on multiple broadcasts Moore’s adjustment to the curve on the blade of his stick. If he is making tweaks like that to help improve his shot, he’s going to become a more lethal goal-scoring threat. We’ve seen some early signs of this as Moore is not only tied for the team lead in goals (7), but has shown the ability to score from distance:
Los Angeles goal!
Scored by Trevor Moore with 00:16 remaining in the 2nd period.
Assisted by Arthur Kaliyev.
— NHL Goals (@nhl_goal_bot) November 5, 2023
The 2023-24 season is still young, but Trevor Moore is showing that, if anything, he could end up being underpaid.
(Main Photo Credit: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)