Earlier today, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced via Twitter that they have signed former University of Denver forward Trevor Moore to a three-year entry level contract. The announcement comes on the heels of Moore’s reportedly “great” development camp with the Maple Leafs earlier this month.
The Leafs have signed Trevor Moore to a three-year entry-level contract. #TMLtalk
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 26, 2016
As a junior last year, Moore skated on the vaunted Pacific Rim Line that tallied 139 points and led the Pioneers to the program’s first Frozen Four berth in over a decade. Skating to the side of center Dylan Gambrell, Moore accounted for 44 of those points, including 11 goals.
Coupled with the departure of Danton Heinen, two-thirds of one of the best lines in college hockey have now left the college ranks. Gambrell, the lone remaining member of the Pacific Rim Line will look to anchor a fluid top-line situation in 2016-17.
If there is a silver lining that Pioneers fans can look at here, it’s that Moore’s decision to leave the program will open the door for a player like incoming freshman Liam Finlay to get a serious look as a potential top line goal-scorer.
Despite being one of the team’s best puck-handlers last year, Moore had a difficult time finding the back of the net for much of the season, tallying just 11 goals in 40 games. In fact, until the end of January, Moore had scored just three goals before going on a 4-game goal streak against Miami, North Dakota, and Colorado College.
The biggest question mark on head coach Jim Montgomery’s to-do list is to now find a way to replace the void of scoring by Moore and Heinen. At this very early stage, it would appear that Troy Terry will take one of the spots opened up by Moore and Heinen, while there may be an ongoing competition for the third spot on the top line. Finlay may be on the short-list to take that spot.
Henrik Borgström, incoming freshman and this year’s first-round pick of the Florida Panthers, will likely center the second line for the sake of roster balance.
While Moore’s departure will certainly raise some eyebrows, the 2016-17 Pioneers still look to be one of the country’s best programs coming into the season. Time will tell if the Pioneers can build upon their incredible run from a year ago, but if they do, they’ll have to do it without the services of two-thirds of the Pacific Rim Line.