Moller opts to play 5,531 miles away from Terry Murray, and who can blame him?

Kings' Oscar Moller to play in Sweden | The Fabulous Forum | Los Angeles Times
Kings forward Oscar Moller, a restricted free agent, is expected to return to his native Sweden to play in the Elite League next season but the Kings will retain his NHL rights. General Manager Dean Lombardi said the move was Moller’s choice. The fleet but small winger — he’s listed at 5 feet 10 and 189 pounds — [...] acquitted himself well while filling in for the suspended Jarret Stoll in the second game of the Kings’ playoff series against San Jose but didn’t get another chance to play. His fatal flaw apparently is his size, at least in the eyes of Lombardi and Coach Terry Murray. Moller has skill and his speed is an element Kings forwards sorely lack, but he couldn’t win a regular spot. [...] "It is a chance for him to mature more physically. He still has a young body," Lombardi said via email. But not a big enough body for the Kings, it seems. Too bad.

Wayne Simmonds, Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll, Andrei Loktionov, Oscar Moller and Brad Richardson were all clustered between 1.50 and 1.75 PTS/60. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown were better. Everyone else was worse.

Moller had the highest A1/60 (primary assists) of everyone but Kopitar.

While not hitting any kind of stride.

So Moller will play his game in Sweden, and the Kings will double-down on Terry Murray's system. There wasn't going to be any room in the top-six for Moller, anyway. Unless Williams isn't ready for camp. Or someone gets hurt. In which case, the right wing we call up to take his place is...

...oh, there isn't anyone.

Brandon Kozun maybe. Kozun is two 3 or 4 inches shorter than Moller and struggled most of the year in his first year in the AHL. After that...Marc-Andre Cliche? Tyler Toffoli will be in juniors and not available for recall if we need mid-season help, and he won't be ready next year anyway.

I guess Moller's departure is good news for Brad Richardson, who is more likely to stick since, without Moller at the ready, both Lewis and Richardson are likely to be needed to fill in the periodic, inevitable gaps in the lineup.

The odds of the Kings not missing Moller next year are about...zero. But I guess that's okay, since we'll really get to see if the multiple catastrophic collapses of Terry Murray's system this past season were aberrations or symptoms of a systemic flaw.

Last point. Oscar Moller is not too small. Allow me to repackage last week's post. 

Except -- who knew? -- it turns out there are numerous height-challenged forwards already playing in the league. Some of them are kinda good. And most of them didn't score their first NHL goals until they were older than Oscar is now.

How can the clock be ticking for Moller, when he's ahead of pretty much everyone on this list at ages 18-22? I'm not saying he's better than these players. I'm saying he's already played nearly 100 games at an age when most of these guys hadn't set foot on NHL ice yet. 

    18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38  
Bobby Hull 70 13 18 39 31 50 31 43 39 54 52 44 58 38 44 50             610
Kane 70   21 25 39 27                                 112
LaFontaine 70   19 30 38 47 45 54 41 46 53 5 12 40 2 23             455
Moller 70   7 4 1                                   12
Dionne 68     28 40 24 47 40 53 36 59 53 58 50 56 39 46 36 28 31 7   731
Gomez 71     19 14 10 13 14   33 13 16 16 12 7               167
Kariya 70     18 50 44 17 39 42 33 32 25 11   31 24 16 2 18       402
B. Clarke 70     15 27 35 37 35 27 30 27 21 16 12 19 17 23 17         358
Fleury 66     14 31 51 33 34 40 29 46 29 27 40 15 30 24 12         455
Giroux 71     9 16 25                                 50
Roy 69     9   18 21 32 28 26 10                     144
Cammalleri 69     5 9 20 26 34 19 39 26 19                   197
Whitney 70     4 14 13 17 0 33 26 29 10 21 24 14   17 32 25 24 21 17 341
Loktionov 70     4                                     4
Cournoyer 67     4 7 18 25 28 43 27 37 47 40 40 29 32 25 24 2       428
Recchi 70     1 30 40 43 53 40 16 28 34 32 12 4 28 27 22 20 26 28 577
Briere 70     1 8 1 11 32 24 28 25 32 31 11 26 34           264
Middleton 71       22 24 20 25 38 40 44 51 49 47 30 14 31 13         448
Parise 71       14 31 32 45 38 3                         163
Sullivan 68       5 13 10 20 22 34 21 26 24 31 22 11 17 10       266
Versteeg 70       2 22 20 21                             65
Drury 70         20 20 24 21 23 18 30 37 25 22 14 1         255
Pavelski 71         14 19 25 25 20                         103
Wellwood 70         11 12 8 18 14 5                       68
Gionta 67         4 12 21 48 25 22 20 28 29               209
Gerbe 65         2 16                               18
Brett Hull 70         1 32 41 72 86 70 54 57 29 43 42 27 32 24 39 30 37 741
Datsyuk 71           11 12 30 28 27 31 32 27 23             221
St. Louis 68           1 3 18 16 33 38 31 43 25 30 29 31       298
Omark 70             5                             5
Blake 70               1 5 5 8 25 22 28 40 15 25 16 16   206
  • This chart tracks goal output of short forwards by age. It's not every short forward ever. Just the ones I could think of.
  • The columns represent age, from 18 to 38. Originally, I charted it out to age 43 (Recchi being the only one scoring at that advanced age), but it wouldn't fit. 
  • The last column is total goals and reflects all the goals scored (e.g. all of Recchi's, not just up to 38). 
  • The column to the right of the player's name shows the player's height in inches, as reported by NHL.com. With one exception: Moller is listed as 5'11", but I'm preemptively listing him at 5'10" to avoid the complaining that would otherwise ensue. I'm sure the heights of most of the players on this list are inflated, but I'm going with the best information we have. 
  • For the purposes of declaring a single "age" for each player in each season, I did my best to round to the closest age of the player at the start of the season.
  • Players whose names are in red are in the Hall of Fame.
  • Columns are sortable. Click on the column headers. 
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