Doug Wilson's acquisition of Dominic Moore from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a second round pick on February 17th can probably be accurately interpreted as the Sharks GM throwing in the towel on the Michal Handzus experiment. And kudos to him for doing so; there are undoubtedly several GMs in this league who would have either been completely oblivious to Handzus' failings or vehemently stuck with the guy they invested a good deal of money in less than a year prior. Moore was a logical choice to pick up for the third-line center spot given that he'd played that role as a vital component of the Lightning's run to the Eastern Conference Finals the previous spring and had historically been a much better possession forward than Handzus despite playing minutes similar in difficulty to the big Slovak center. While the price Wilson paid for Moore will probably be the subject of some criticism, particularly now in light of Moore's performance in teal, a top-half second round pick only has about a 15% chance of turning into an impact player so it was a sound bet to make at the time and was a proactive (and, frankly, necessary) move.
Unfortunately, as we've repeated quite a bit during this season review series, it didn't pan out all that spectacularly. Certainly no one should have expected a performance on par with Moore's 2010-11 season when the historically below-average finisher, who sports a career 7.3% shooting percentage over a 915-shot sample, scored 18 goals for the Bolts on the back of a 10.3% shooting percentage, but the fact that Moore didn't light the lamp once in his 26 regular season and playoff games in San Jose was disappointing to say the least. But that isn't to imply Moore didn't add value to the Sharks. He was deployed heavily in the defensive zone, relieving some burden from Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski's line and especially Logan Couture's, the latter of which even saw easier matchups for a stretch as Todd McLellan paired Moore with fellow deadline acquisition Daniel Winnik to use as a pseudo-checking line against second-tier opponents. The results were mixed and Moore was shuffled around the lineup, playing with Torrey Mitchell and Handzus for a stretch late in the season before skating with Mitchell and T.J. Galiardi during the playoff games he drew into the lineup for. In all, the Sharks were outscored 15-8 and outshot 157-130 with Moore on the ice at even strength. Nothing to write home about to be sure but Moore's overall Corsi% of 48.7% is more than reasonable considering he was starting in his own end of the ice far more often than not and Moore's 966 PDO was a bigger reason for his offensive struggles and poor plus-minus rating than his actual play.
Dominic Moore Statistical Overview (San Jose and Tampa Bay)
|Season||GP||TOI/60||Corsi Rel QoC||DZone%|
|Corsi Rel||PDO||+/-/60||4v5 SA/60||4v5 GA/60|
FTF Grade: C. I'd almost rather give him an incomplete considering that 26 games really isn't much to judge a skater by, but given that he was a modest improvement over Handzus in spite of suffering some horrific shooting and PDO luck, Moore gets a passing grade from me. As you can see from his behindthenet player card, this was the worst season of Moore's career in almost every respect and not all of it was really his fault. He'll be unrestricted on July 1st and I'd be surprised if he doesn't test the market. While I'd like to see the Sharks acquire a better third-line center than Moore (really, the entire third line needs to be rebuilt this offseason into something much better), he's a decent insurance policy to fall back on if he doesn't get snapped up immediately by the market.