Simon Moser And The Next Big Step

Austin Watson wonders if we’ll be seeing the likes of Simon Moser in Milwaukee after his efforts in Sochi. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

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?

5 thoughts on “Simon Moser And The Next Big Step”

  1. I do think Moser’s days as an AHL player, at least in the coming few years are numbered. And yes that might seem strange to a casual hockey fan. In North America, he’s solid third or fourth line player with some offensive upside, but isn’t going to lead a team in points. Therefore, it’s easy for Moser to go unnoticed by a casual fan’s eye.

    But I agree completely with Lavender’s assessment with how good the 24-year-old was in Sochi. Moser played a similar well-rounded game at last year’s World Championships. I think if the two situations were switched as far as the media/scouting spotlight, the forward might not have been a Predator/Admiral this season and a few other franchises might have taken notice.

    Moser is another example of a Jarred Smithson-, Nick Spaling-, Joel Ward-type of player. He plays exactly the kind of game the Predators’ brass loves, and is the type of role player that you win with on your roster. And remember, Moser was close to making the Predators right out of training camp.

    Here’s a few interesting snippets from my pre-Olympics interviews with Moser and Preds Assistant GM Paul Fenton.

    Simon Moser on his past off season decision to attend Nashville’s training camp, after I asked why did he choose Nashville/Milwaukee:

    “It wasn’t like I could choose from a lot of teams, but if you get a chance to get invited to one of the NHL camps, you go wherever it is. It’s a great organization here.”

    Fenton pointed to the quality play in Switzerland and how that country has a lot of North American imports shaping the game’s development there:

    “The interesting part is that there have been (North American) imports who have gone over there and played in their number one league or number two league and I’m sure they’ve settled there at times and married girls from over there. There expertise has helped out and supported the skill level that’s already there. It really helps to have that North American mentality and (Swiss players have that).”

    More from Fenton on the development of Swiss players:

    “If you watched (Simon) play here (in Milwaukee) you know that he’s been taught to pay attention to details from the goal line out for 200 feet. Those kids (the Swiss) are good hockey players.”

  2. It’s been fun to watch Moser in Milwaukee, I fully agree with both of of you his AHL days may be numbered, he has the skills to be a quiet surprise in the NHL in the near future. The Preds brass got a preview in the games leading up to the Olympics and had a front row seat to see just how good this young man is and will be!

  3. I did get a chance to watch the Swiss play (along with almost every tourney game) Moser was always active and looking to attack his play in Sochi earned him some longer stays in Nashville if the Preds stay on the playoff hunt he most likely will end the season yo-yoing back and forth. If they lose ground I see them keeping him up for more grooming for next year. There’s a two year two way deal in his future. Now a little off topic Simon Gamache if he has swiss citizenship would he be an offensive guy they’d wanted to put on that Swiss team? I know he spent several years in Bern.

  4. Not to go completely off topic, but I wanted to mention a Swiss player who again caught my eye in Sochi, Martin Pluss.

    Now maybe it’s just my video game playing with Switzerland that makes me always recognize him, but I thought he was again great at the Olympics. I can’t believe he’s never played in the NHL despite a very impressive offensive resume (Pluss’ height at 5’8″ could be a factor). This year there are a lot of “unknown” players at the Olympics on countries like Slovenia and Latvia that I certainly took notice of, but again Pluss was awesome. I wonder how many of these unknown quantities in Sochi will get some surprise invites to NHL camps next season?

    Another guy I’ve taken notice of is Antti Pihlstrom of Finland. Pihlstrom played 54 games with Nashville from 2007-2009 and another 93 with Milwaukee during the same time frame. In 2007-2008 he was awesome with the Admirals, scoring 27 goals and 45 points, while playing as a plus-7.

    At Sochi, he’s yet to score, and played just 8 minutes against Russia today. But it’s great to see the talented former Admiral forward again!

    International hockey has never been stronger. This has been an amazing Olympics so far.

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