Monday, June 23, 2008

Shooting for the Moon

The Pens took Nathan Moon with their first pick, which might be more impressive if the first pick wasn’t just before the beginning of the 5th round of the draft.

Still, it seems like Moon has a lot more going for him than the usual 120th pick in the draft, perhaps a subconscious reaction by Pens fans since he was the top pick. Here’s how the Faceoff Factor described his up-and-down season and overall game:

Head coach Bruce Cassidy [a former NHL coach with Washington –Ed], one of Moon’s biggest supporters, was fired after a six game losing streak.

Moon continued to produce at a high level, however, things changed as the season wore on. Call it frustration, the loss of a mentor, whatever – Moon and the Frontenacs were stuck in the basement of the OHL and Nathan Moon’s game began to become slightly inconsistent from night to night.

I think overall, for Moon, it’s time to leave last year behind and begin to start working on things to make him a better overall player. Not that Moon is a one dimensional character at this point, but his defensive game needs work. Overall, this was certainly the best player available for the Penguins the 4th round. Moon should have been taken mid to late third, so Pittsburgh comes away with a fantastic prospect way behind where he should have been taken.

Overall, we don’t have much of a reaction. Outside of a few slam-dunk picks, most of the time it’s near impossible for professional hockey scouts and general managers to predict which 18 year old kids will turn into solid professional players 5-10 years down the line. Which is why you often see players like Henrik Zetterberg get drafted way down the list but then have a solid NHL career, while a lot of high picks never pan out to expectations.

It’s an inexact science, to be sure. But, right now there’s a reason Moon was on the board at 120. He’s smallish, had an up and down season. But there is some upside to him to, it seems like you’d be hard pressed to find a guy with the offensive ability and perhaps potential as Moon that late in the draft. That’s a good thing. Time will tell if Moon will pan out and create a nice career for himself or just fizzle away, but in the NHL, that’s the way the draft goes.

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