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MANITOBA MOOSE - FIRST QUARTER REPORT - Forwards Over 23 yrs Old

MANITOBA MOOSE - FIRST QUARTER REPORT - Forwards Over 23 yrs Old

VETERANS (older than 23)

The path to the NHL is not the same for every player. Yes, the majority of players do become NHL regulars before they are 23, but there are some exceptions. Before we look at the "elder" Moose players, let's take a look at a couple of those exception players.

The first has carved a niche role in the NHL and has picked up three Stanley Cup rings, despite not becoming a NHL full-season regular until he was 25 years old. I'm talking about Patrick Maroon, who was initially drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 6th round (161st) in 2007. The 6'2" winger was always productive offensively in the AHL, slowly getting even better before breaking into the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks. Maroon has played for 5 NHL teams in his career and was a key cog in three straight Cup victories (St. Louis Blues & Tampa Bay Lightning x2).

The other player is Nick Paul, who was drafted in the 4th round by the Dallas Stars in 2013, but broke into the NHL with the Ottawa Senators organization. Paul started out slowly in the points department, but increased to be close to a point per game player over his 4/5 AHL seasons. He's had less impact on the scoresheet in the NHL when compared to Maroon, but he has become a solid contributor from the bottom 6 with the Senators & Lightning.

NAME / YEAR / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Maroon / 1 / 20 / 80 / 54 / .675 / +2 / 62

Maroon / 2 / 21 / 67 / 44 / .657 / -15 / 125

Maroon / 3 / 22 / 66 / 56 / .849 / +5 / 98

Maroon / 4 / 23 / 75 / 74 / .987 / +17 / 120

Maroon / 5 / 24 / 64 / 50 / .781 / +4 / 0

NAME / YEAR / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Paul / 1 / 20 / 45 / 17 / .378 / -4 / 10

Paul / 2 / 21 / 72 / 37 / .514 / -17 / 30

Paul / 3 / 22 / 54 / 27 / .500 / -17 / 40

Paul / 4 / 23 / 43 / 39 / .907 / +20 / 29

Paul / 5 / 24 / 3 / 4 / 1.333 / +4 / 0

With that in mind, let's take a look at how the Manitoba Moose's veteran players did in the first quarter of the regular season.

Alex Limoges:

The 25 year old winger was born in a state not exactly known for churning out hockey players, Virginia. After completing his NCAA career with Penn State, the undrafted Limoges has shown that he can score the past 2 seasons in the AHL with the San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks) with 61 pts in 85 games (.718%).

This season with the Moose has seen Alex become a mainstay on the top forward line, as well as the first PP unit. He hasn't disappointed the coaching staff, netting 6 goals and 10 assists for 16 pts in 15 games (1.067%) wearing the antlered Manitoba jersey. The American forward has really helped the powerplay get going after a slow start, pocketing 2 goals with the man-advantage. He has also shown up in clutch times, with two game winners under his belt.

Limoges' current linemates of Stenlund & Malott are the biggest offensive threat Head Coach Mark Morrison can throw out on the ice, whether it's at even strength or on the powerplay.

The 6' 207 lb winger currently has a shooting percentage of 18.2%, which is pretty good, but since it's below his AHL career average of 25.5% so Manitoba could expect an increase in Limoge's lighting the lamp in the remainder of the season.`

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Limoges / 25 / 15 / 16 / 1.067 / +6 / 2

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Kevin Stenlund:

The 6'4" center/right winger was once a prize prospect of the Columbus Blue Jackets, after being drafted late in the 2nd round in 2015.

The 26 year old Swede started his North American career in 2018-19 with the Cleveland Monsters, posting the following in his first 3 seasons: 25 pts in 59 games (.424%), 18 pts in 33 games (.545%), & 25 pts in 42 games (.595%).

Mainly over 2 seasons, Stenlund had played in 71 NHL games amassing 20 pts (.282%) with Columbus before signing as a free agent with the Winnipeg Jets this past off-season.

Playing on the top 2 lines to start the season, Kevin instantly provided the Moose with offense, scoring 6 pts in the first 5 games. He then went through a bit of a slump, getting one assist in the next 5 matches before getting back on track again with 7 pts in 7 games.

Stenlund has now established himself on the top line for Manitoba and also plays a role using his big frame to battle in front of the net on the powerplay. The man-advantage has helped provide about a third of his 14 pts, including 2 PP goals.

The defensive side of the game was always a problem for the big forward, with a combined minus 39 rating over his three seasons in Cleveland. So far, Bowness' system and his linemates have helped Stenlund to an even plus/minus rating in the first 1/4 of the season.

Stenlund likely will expect a slight increase in goals scoring (4G), as his 8.7% shooting is slightly lower than his career norm (10%) and he is really starting to get some chemistry with Limoges and Malott.

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Stenlund / 26 / 17 / 14 / .824 / E / 20

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Jeff Malott:

The 26 year old winger went undrafted by NHL teams and signed a contract with the Manitoba Moose in 2020-21 after he completed his NCAA career with Cornell University.

The 6'3" forward made the most of his opportunity, impressing the Winnipeg Jets' brass with his play (14G/6A/20P/.588% in 34 games) so much that they signed him to a one year NHL contract. Malott didn't stop there and followed up with another solid season (23G/18A/41P/.661% in 62 games) that also included his first NHL game with the Jets.

Winnipeg rewarded him by re-signing Malott in the off-season, this time to a two year deal. After a bit of a slow start playing alongside young Lucius, the 200+ lb winger has found his scoring touch, netting 8 goals and 11 pts in 17 games (.647%).

As well as being a threat to score from the dirty areas during 5 on 5 play, Jeff is also a key sniper on the 1st PP unit and has lit the red light 3 times with the man-advantage. His 20.5% shooting is currently a bit higher than his AHL career norm (16%), indicating the need for the big winger to probably shoot the puck more often.

While both Malott and Stenlund have their strengths (scoring/battling along boards), the lack of skating speed to be the first in on the forecheck likely hinders their hope for a call up by Winnipeg, unless a player like Blake Wheeler needs replacing due to injury.

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Malott / 26 / 17 / 11 / .647 / +1 / 29

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Jansen Harkins:

Drafted with the 47th (2nd) pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Harkins started his career with the Moose after playing in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars. With the Cougars, the 6'2" center/left winger established himself as a scorer with 72 pts in 64 games (1.125%) in his final season.

In the 2017-18 & 2018-19 seasons with Manitoba, the BC born forward scored 13 pts in 46 games (.283%) and 31 pts in 70 games (.443%). He also got his first taste of NHL hockey in 2019, dressing for 29 games (2G/7A/9P/.310%) with the Jets.

The past 2 seasons saw Harkins remain with Winnipeg, first getting 2 pts in 26 games (.077%) then 13 pts in 77 games (.169%) last year.

After being cut by Rick Bowness in training camp, Harkins showed that he was determined to make his way back to the NHL with a strong start to his AHL campaign. Ultimately, his effort paid off with points in all six of his AHL games, including three 2 point games, for a total of 9 pts (1.500%).

With that performance, it's understandable that Jansen was one of the first players to be called up when Winnipeg started to suffer injuries to their forward group. Harkins has done fairly well with his 4th line opportunities this year with the Jets, scoring 3 pts in 9 games (.333%). He will have to continue his strong defensive play in the NHL (+4) and chipping in offensively if Jansen hopes to stick with Winnipeg when injured players like Nik Ehlers and Mason Appleton get healthy.

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Harkins / 25 / 6 / 9 / 1.500 / +5 / 6 *currently w/ WPG

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Mikey Eyssimont:

The spunky forward was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2016 NHL draft, with the 142nd overall pick (5th). After spending three season with the Kings' farm team, where he produced at a point every 2 game pace, Eyssimont signed with the Winnipeg Jets in the 2021-22 off-season.

Mikey had his best season with Manitoba last year with career-high 8.8% shooting, putting up 18 goals, 24 assists, and 42 points (.724%) in 58 games.

An Energizer Bunny type of player that is hard on the forecheck, always finishes his bodychecks, and gets under the nerves of his opponents (often getting his team a man-advantage as a result). Eyssimont has continued where he left off this season, despite a low 6.1% shooting, scoring 9 pts in 9 games before getting a call up to the big club.

In Winnipeg, the 26 yr old has endeared himself to the coaching staff with his effort and tenacity, resulting in him getting opportunities in the top and bottom 6's, as well as seeing PP time on a depleted 2nd unit. In his 11 NHL games, Eyssimont has 3 pts (.272%) but he brings so many other things to the table that will make the decision tougher as to who the next forward to be sent to the AHL will be. With over a month before either Ehlers or Appleton could even optimistically be expected back, the Jets' coaching staff will get plenty of more looks at the options before having to decide.

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Eyssimont / 26 / 9 / 9 / 1.000 / +8 / 27 *currently w/ WPG

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Kristian Reichel:

The undrafted Czech-born forward is entering his fifth season with the Manitoba Moose this year. Reichel has used his 6'2" frame and decent skating to become a regular in the bottom six. The 24 year old has always contributed offensively as well, scoring at around .400% shooting in his first four AHL seasons.

Kristian is sporting a career-low 6.7% shooting percentage this season and it has impacted his and linemates Nikkanen & Torgersson's offensive output. The trio do create chances, often after a good forecheck and cycle works the opponent's out of position, but the haven't really netted their fair share of chances yet. With 7 pts in 17 games, Reichel is still producing close to his norm and it should only improve as his European mates adjust to the North American game.

While the 24 yr old did get into 13 NHL games last year (2 pts), I am not sure Reicehl has much more than a 4th line grinder as his NHL potential ceiling.

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Reichel / 24 / 17 / 7 / .412 / -1 / 15

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Dominic Toninato:

The American forward was a Toronto Maple Leaf draft pick in the 2015 (5th rd) and had played 164 NHL games (29 pts/.177%) entering this season.

After putting up 14 pts in 77 games (.182%) with Winnipeg last year, Toninato was one of the late Jet cuts in training camp. He didn't stay with Manitoba long, playing in only one game before being recalled by the NHL club (1 pts in 4 games).

Despite being the first call up by Bowness, he has been outplayed by later call ups (Harkins & Eyssimont) and recently was waived by Winnipeg for re-assignment. Since no other NHL clubs made a claim, the 28 year forward will provide a boost to a Moose team short-handed due to injuries to 2 of their centers (Lucius & Maier).

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Toninato / 28 / 1 / 0 / .000 / E / 0

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THE FORWARDS - Contracts w/ Manitoba Moose

Cole Maier:

Along with injured Jimmy Oligny, the 27 yr old center is one of the leaders of the Manitoba Moose. Entering his fourth full season under the antlers, Maier has developed into the ideal 3rd line center. He can play a stiffling defensive style, yet still scores at a good pace (.428% of his AHL career).

Last season, Cole had a career year, amassing 37 pts in 68 games (.544%) that included another best in 17 goals.

With his usual wingers, Jones & Polei, the trio are great at dumping the puck in and getting on the forecheck. Coach Mark Morrison often uses this All-Moose line to try and flip momentum when his squad is getting dominated on back-to-back shifts. In 12 games played this year, the American has scored 7 pts for a .583 point percentage.

Unfortunately, Maier was recently injured, missing the last 5 Moose games and still expected to miss another couple weeks. Since he was injured around the same time Lucius was, Manitoba suddenly found themselves without their 2nd and 3rd line centers.

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Maier / 27 / 12 / 7 / .583 / +4 / 16

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Nicholas Jones:

The 26 yr old winger is entering his fifth season in the AHL and third with Manitoba. After establishing himself on the 3rd line last season, Jones put up career best numbers (12G/22A/34G in 60 games for .567%).

Entering this year, it looked like Jones might see his icetime get reduced with all the young players starting off their AHL careers. However, injuries have kept Nicholas in the lineup for most games. Without Maier, the 3rd line has become less effective, indicated by Jones lowest point production (.250%) of his career to date.

Even without scoring, the Moose coaching staff can count on the Edmontonian to play solid defense and contribute on the PK (one SH goal).

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Jones / 26 / 16 / 4 / .250 / +4 / 11

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Evan Polei:

The 6'2" winger had played in 5 AHL season with 4 different teams coming into this season, accumulating a .341 scoring percentage over 162 games.

Last year, in his first season with Manitoba, Polei had his second best AHL season, scoring 23 pts in 62 games (.371%) while spending 97 minutes in the sin bin.

As I mentioned with Jones above, the injury to Maier has hurt Polei's production this year, but the injuries have also probably increased the number of games he has been dressed.

Evan can always be counted on for sound defense and standing up for teammates when things heat up on the ice (on pace for 96 PIMs).

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Polei / 25 / 16 / 4 / .250 / +4 / 24

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The Manitoba Moose have also used some other players, like last year's best Moose rookie Greg Meireles, Isaac Johnson, & Tyler Boland. Meireles was initially a healthy scratch due to the amount of players in front of him on the depth chart and hasn't really gotten going in the 10 games he has played. Both Johnson & Boland started the year in the ECHL with the Newfoundland Growlers, helping them to the #1 spot in the league. The 26 yr old Boland has started filling in for the injured Maier recently and has picked up 2 assists in 4 games with the Moose.

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Manitoba Moose Forward Stats:

NAME / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Limoges / 25 / 15 / 16 / 1.067 / +6 / 2

Stenlund / 26 / 17 / 14 / .824 / E / 20

Malott / 26 / 17 / 11 / .647 / +1 / 29

Harkins / 25 / 6 / 9 / 1.500 / +5 / 6 *currently w/ WPG

Eyssimont / 26 / 9 / 9 / 1.000 / +8 / 27 *currently w/ WPG

Maier / 27 / 12 / 7 / .583 / +4 / 16

Reichel / 24 / 17 / 7 / .412 / -1 / 15

Lucius / 19 / 12 / 5 / .417 / -2 / 6

Bongiovanni / 23 / 16 / 5 / .313 / -4 / 8

Nikkanen / 21 / 17 / 5 / .294 / +2 / 10

Torgersson / 19 / 17 / 5 / .294 / -6 / 2

Jones / 26 / 16 / 4 / .250 / +4 / 11

Polei / 25 / 16 / 4 / .250 / +4 / 24

Meireles / 22 / 10 / 3 / .300 / -4 / 2

Lambert / 18 / 11 / 3 / .273 / -7 / 6

Boland / 26 / 4 / 2 / .500 / +2 / 0

Toninato / 28 / 1 / 0 / .000 / E / 0

Johnson / 23 / 3 / 0 / .000 / E / 0

Vesalainen / 23 / 7 / 3 / .429 / -7 / 2 *w/ Helsinki in Liiga

Comparisons of Other AHL Careers

NAME / YEAR / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Perfetti / 1 / 18 / 32 / 26 / .8125 / +1 / 2

Perfetti / 2 / 19 / 17 / 15 / .882 / +6 / 2

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Connor / 1 / 19 / 52 / 44 / .846 / -8 / 14

Connor / 2 / 20 / 4 / 5 / 1.25 / +1 / 0

NAME / YEAR / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Roslovic / 1 / 19 / 65 / 48 / .738 / -17 / 22

Roslovic / 2 / 20 / 32 / 35 / 1.094 / +16 / 8

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Svechnikov / 1 / 19 / 74 / 51 / .689 / E / 62

Svechnikov / 2 / 20 / 57 / 23 / .404 / -4 / 58

NAME / YEAR / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Gustafsson / 1 / 19 / 13 / 7 / .538 / E / 2

Gustafsson / 2 / 20 / 22 / 19 / .864 / +4 / 4

Gustafsson / 3 / 21 / 47 / 30 / .638 / +4 / 10

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Appleton / 1 / 20 / 76 / 66 / .868 / +14 / 57

Appleton / 2 / 21 / 40 / 32 / .800 / -5 / 24

NAME / YEAR / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Lowry / 1 / 20 / 64 / 33 / .516 / -1 / 49

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Harkins / 1 / 20 / 46 / 13 / .283 / +6 / 17

Harkins / 2 / 21 / 70 / 31 / .443 / -2 / 37

Harkins / 3 / 22 / 30 / 31 / 1.033 / +4 / 28

NAME / YEAR / AGE / GP / PTS / PTS% / +/- / PIM

Hagel / 1 / 20 / 8 / 1 / .125 / -4 / 2

Hagel / 2 / 21 / 59 / 31 / .525 / E / 38

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Barron / 1 / 21 / 21 / 21 / 1.000 / +8 / 20

Barron / 2 / 22 / 25 / 15 / .600 / -2 / 10

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