Latvia managed to knockout Switzerland from the Olympics yesterday by the final score of 3-1. This meant the end of the Sochi games for Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi and Milwaukee Admirals winger Simon Moser.
For a team that really lacked firepower (scoring three goals the entire tournament) and relied upon the strength of their defense (two shutouts from Jonas Hiller) I believe a real bright spot for the Swiss came in the form of Moser.
I watched all of their games with a keen eye for him and was very impressed by what I saw. Despite not picking up much in the way of scoring, a problem for the Swiss squad in general, he looked better than he even did as an Admiral. I felt as if there wasn’t a single bad shift for Moser during his Olympic run. Offensively, he was doing a great job creating plays and working around the net. He looked big, fast, strong, and wasn’t shy to throw a puck to the net if he saw a good enough chance. While his go-to Olympic moment will no doubt be his game-winning goal against Latvia in the opening game – he had so many more bright spots skating forward that it’s actually a shame he and that team failed to score more than they did.
When it came to his defense, just like the whole Switzerland team, he was doing very smart and responsible work in his own half of the ice. He was also good in the neutral zone work. His size in particular seemed to help out in that area of the ice – Olympic ice – wider ice – and he disrupted plays nicely.
Moser’s Olympic statline: 4 games, 1 goal, 8 shots on goal, 2 penalty minutes, a plus/minus of +1, and he averaged 15:11 time on ice per game. Only four other forwards for Switzerland played more minutes during tournament than him: Nino Niederreiter, 68:20 TOI… Martin Pluss, 67:42 TOI… Damien Brunner, 66:04 TOI… Roman Wick, 65:50 TOI… Simon Moser, 60:45 TOI…
This entire Olympic run for Moser comes right after his first career games in the NHL. With the Predators he played in 3 games and scored his first career NHL point (an assist). With the Admirals, he has played in 40 games this season and produced 25 points (8 goals, 17 assists). His role with Team Switzerland in Sochi was actually quite identical to the way he played in Milwaukee. He was asked to play in multiple facets, performed a two-way game, and worked smartly on both sides of the puck.
It begs to be said. Should we really expect Simon Moser to return to the Admirals after all this? My answer: No.
The next big step for Moser is to perform in the NHL as he did in the Olympics. When it comes to his offensive game I wouldn’t necessarily even point to his Admirals numbers. In no way do I expect for him to be a figure on the Predators power-play. What you’ll get and love from a guy like Moser, when it comes to the NHL level, is a smart third line winger that makes good plays defensively, can skate up ice, battle strength-for-strength on the forecheck, and can bag the odd point here and there with his creativity. Should those attributes manifest themselves, as they have in Milwaukee and Sochi, Moser should settle into Nashville nicely for the rest of the NHL season.
Were you able to watch Simon Moser and Team Switzerland during the Olympics? What did you think of Moser’s play in Sochi versus in Milwaukee? Did the bigger rinks help his game? Have we seen the last of Moser in an Admirals uniform?