Ever since Steve Moses signed with the Nashville Predators back in April, everyone from the organization to the fans have been interested to see what his game was all about. His speed and scoring ability had been greatly talked about. He had a strong college game, too. Moses even won a scoring title in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). But how would his game transition into the NHL?
“It’s been challenging,” said Moses. “I expected it to be, and I knew it was going to take a period of time to get adjusted to the game. I think I’ve been feeling better and better as the games have gone on, and of course I expect to continue to improve and that’s my main goal.”
The KHL plays with Olympic-sized ice, which is 15 feet wider than NHL-sized ice. It tends to mean less physical play, along with a game that slows down to create plays. For many players, the transition can be difficult. Throughout camp and the preseason, Moses’ comfort level continues to see improvement on the ice, but he know that there are still adjustments to be made.
“Things happen a little bit quicker, and there’s a little less time to make plays,” explained Moses. “The players are bigger and stronger, so certainly the space gets closed down quickly on you. Mentally, you have to make decisions much more quickly.”
One of the skills that has stood out to many in preseason is his speed. Moses is easily the fastest skater on the ice more times than not. The 5’9″, 170-pound winger may not be the biggest player out there, but he uses his quickness to make plays.
“I’ve always worked on it,” said Moses about his speed. “It’s something that has been a strength of mine for long as I can remember, so whenever you have something that you’re good at, you need to focus on it and continue to improve. I always try to focus on that, so hopefully it’s something that will translate well to this game. ”
While Moses hasn’t been able to completely wow fans with scoring during the preseason, he’s receiving plenty of opportunities on the ice. On Tuesday night, Moses saw 17:04 on the ice including 2:54 on the power play. Head coach Peter Laviolette is confident that Moses will improve as time goes on.
“It’s a different ballgame because of the size of the rink,” said Laviolette. “I’m sure in his mind he’s hoping to get more chances and more looks at the net. With his speed and his shot, he wants to make a difference offensively. With time and understanding of the game, those chances will come.”
Not only does Moses have to adjust to a different rink size, he’s also getting acclimated to new teammates. In the preseason, especially with new players, the coaching staff will jumble the lines to see how each player works with others. It makes it difficult to develop chemistry, but Moses is sure that chemistry will grow during the season.
“It’s tough to say at this point,” said Moses on developing chemistry. “Of course it’s changing almost every day, and I’m just trying to figure out where guys fit in. I think it’s something will continue to build as the season goes.”
With one game left to go in the preseason, it may be a final impression on the coaching staff before they make a decision on who stays with the Predators and who gets sent to Milwaukee for seasoning. With a few NHLers likely to be scratched on October 3rd against Columbus, Moses will probably get one more game in to prove that he belongs.
“I just want to continue to build,” said Moses. “I expect some adjustment time and I’ve been getting more comfortable, so now it’s time to take another step next game and continue hopefully as the regular season goes.”
Will Steve Moses see the ice with the Nashville Predators during the regular season? He has the speed and ability to make plays, but there are other players vying for a spot on the team. Let us know what you think below.
Video: Head coach Peter Laviolette:
Photo Credit: Nashville Predators