In the junior leagues, players can find themselves buried on a stacked team, and with some moving on to their pro-careers, opportunity can knock for others.
When opportunity knocks for you, you better answer the door, ready to step out and step up.
A 2012 second round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers, Moroz entered the 2013-14 season playing on a line with Phoenix Coyotes first rounder Henrik Samuelsson as his centre, until Ottawa Senators first rounder Curtis Lazar returned from an extended stint at the Senators training camp.
The Oil Kings are coming off two straight seasons as one of the top teams in the entire WHL.
“Mitch has been given a great opportunity this year to play top-line minutes,” explained Paul Owen, the communications manager of the Edmonton Oil Kings.
“He’s been able to take advantage of playing with those other skilled players by finding space in the offensive zone or planting himself in front of the net for tips and rebounds.”
While he’s now specializing on offense, Moroz spent the past two years playing a bottom six forward role that had more focus on the defensive side.
He produced 16 goals and 25 points in his draft year, before scoring 13 goals and 34 points in 69 games last season.
Already this season, Moroz is flirting with a career high in goals with 12 already through the first 21 games of the season.
While the point increase is impressive, there’s other parts to Moroz’ game that are of interest to fans of the Edmonton Oilers.
“His scoring pace is unreal, but I’ve been even more impressed with his leadership,” said Brian Swane, a beat writer for the Edmonton Sun.
“He’s starting to show why he was a second-round pick.”
The Calgary born power forward has showed a willingness to drop the gloves, much like he did in previous seasons, but it’s more impressive because of his offensive role now.
Moroz had 131 penalty minutes in 2011-12, 140 minutes in 2012-13, and already has 59 so far this year.
“He’s not a little guy and he knows that,” explained Matt Tweedy, an Oil Kings season ticket holder.
“He looks like he could be the power forward type that the Oilers have been looking for. He reminds me of Milan Lucic.”
Being compared to a guy like Lucic is a huge compliment to the 19-year-old forward, but that’s not the only comparison he has been subject to.
“It might be a bit of a stretch, but I see a lot of Eric Lindros in him,” explained Greg McMullen, a tire technician and Oil Kings fan.
He’s starting to show why he was a second-round pick. – Brian Swane
Moroz will have to keep playing the way he has been in what will be his last junior season.
While he has yet to sign an NHL contract with the Edmonton Oilers, his play this season, coupled with his short stint in the pre-season where he scored in his game, the Oilers should come calling with an offer soon.