Tomorrow night is the Kings’ ninth game, meaning they have a decision to make after the game. If they keep Oscar Moller beyond that, he’s officially a NHL player and a year is taken off his entry-level contract. So the Kings have to make a decision. Do they keep him here, or send him back to Chilliwack and retain all three years of his entry-level contract? The Kings haven’t made an official decision, but it seems unlikely that Moller will be going back, as his play has justified a stay in the NHL and he’s well-liked by teammates already. There’s no question that Drew Doughty, the other King with junior eligibility, will be staying. Here’s what Terry Murray said about Moller (and try to ignore the part where he gets the 10-game situation incorrect…)
Question: A couple weeks ago, you said you hadn’t really even considered that Moller might go back to junior. Has that thought changed at all?
MURRAY: “No, his play has been pretty good. The only way, as a coach anyway, that you would think about it is if things are inconsistent and he’s not playing well. I’m seeing a young player that’s staying very hungry and his level of play actually, in my mind, has gone up. He’s playing on the No. 2 line and on the power play, getting 15 minutes a night. I know there’s a decision to be made and it doesn’t have to be made until the 10th, after the 10th game. So we’ll leave it at that, and that’s also a meeting that involves people upstairs, and not strictly or solely a coaching decision. So we’ll see, when it comes, what decision we’re going to make.”
Question: Are you pretty confident that he could hold up for an entire season here?
MURRAY: “All I can answer is based on what I’ve seen. Through the training camp and the games so far, he has held up physically, he’s been staying with the pace of the game. He’s been looking at a lot of minutes and NHL play, against top players, and he’s fine. He’s comfortable, he’s confident with the puck and he’s making good things happen. Now I know it’s early. We haven’t traveled a lot and had the wear and tear in the early going, so I think that’s part of the conversation whenever we get to that time.”
Question: I guess I don’t even need to ask about Doughty, right?
MURRAY: “No, Doughty has played very well. He’s really handled himself extremely well for an 18 year old.”