NHL Free Agency: Should San Jose Sharks Re-Sign Dominic Moore?
In analyzing the trade deadline deal the San Jose Sharks made with the Colorado Avalanche, the point was made that the addition of a veteran player was a negligible upgrade that actually stood in the way of a young player getting valuable experience.
This was explored in an analysis of those players, T.J. Galiardi and Daniel Winnik. But at least they are developing as a player themselves. There were three much more egregious examples of ice time vampires who were really just taking up roster space.
Dominic Moore was the best of those players. He also was the worst of those players.
In an acquisition the week before the deadline, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson sent the second-round pick he had acquired in the Brent Burns trade to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the defensive specialist.
You do not re-sign a guy just because you gave up a second-round pick for him. You want to judge him by his contributions to the team and weigh his value against the remaining options on the free-agent market. Here is a look at how Moore did in the three areas the Sharks were expecting him to help the most...
The most important reason the San Jose Sharks traded for Dominic Moore was his defensive prowess, especially killing penalties.
Isolating individual defensive statistics for Moore's time in San Jose would literally require adding up game-by-game event summaries. But two team trends suggest he did not live up to those expectations.
First, they gave up a quarter goal more per game with him in the lineup. Second, their already bottom-five penalty kill sank back a couple more places after he was acquired—literally one goal away from having the worst percentage in the NHL.
Of course, it has been well-established the Sharks' PK problem is system, not personnel. The Sharks have had many players fail on the PK who succeeded before or after they were with the team.
Still, the fact that it got worse with him says he did not adjust well to it and the team would have been better off without him.
The San Jose Sharks were getting increasingly fewer goals five-on-five down the stretch, mostly because of the drop-off in secondary scoring.
While Dominic Moore was hardly a scoring forward, he came in as a point-per-three-games player. But he scored no goals and had just six assists in 23 games for San Jose while posting a minus-six rating.
There were obviously better options for secondary scoring.
The man he replaced in the starting lineup on a given night varied. However, had the Sharks made none of the February trades, it stands to reason that Jim Vandermeer, Benn Ferriero and Michal Handzus would have played more.
Ferriero and Vandermeer played different roles. Since Moore was brought to San Jose to better perform Zeus' role—win faceoffs, kill penalties and anchor the third line—it makes the most sense to compare their performance.
While the report card for Handzus was not flattering, his year-long pace suggests he would have scored at least two goals, had the same six assists and been a mere minus-two. That is two more goals scored and four fewer given up every 23 games as a Shark for Handzus than for Moore.
Even if all of that doesn't fall on Moore, it does not speak well of his performance.
Run to and Through Playoffs
Dominic Moore was expected to be the seventh-best San Jose Sharks forward. He was supposed to help them finish the season strong and make a run for the 2012 Stanley Cup.
The Sharks were in first place when they got him and finished with their worst record in almost a decade. They were eliminated from the playoffs in franchise-record time.
This means the trade for Moore was not worth it. There were no short-term gains and if the team wanted him for next season, they could have just signed him as an unrestricted free agent without yielding a solid draft pick.
But that does not necessarily mean the team should not sign him for next season. After all, the Sharks were struggling when they acquired Moore, and that accounts for these issues, right?
The Sharks made the trade so close to their game against Tampa that they could not complete everything needed in time to dress their new acquisition. They had lost three of five, but three of those games were on the road while four came against playoff teams.
San Jose dropped the contest in overtime, 6-5. Antti Niemi had the worst performance of his career, but the non-playoff Lightning won that game without Moore, so he can hardly be considered pivotal in that game.
The Sharks proceeded to lose the next three games with him by a combined score of 12-7. He was injured early in the 6-3 loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, but was on the ice for one of the goals despite just 2:14 of playing time.
In the four games that followed without him, the Sharks were 2-2. They beat an inferior team, were blown out by a superior one and lost to an inferior one at the end of a nine-game road trip. They then came home and beat a team with a better record.
This suggests a player whose presence lacks impact. The fact that the Sharks lost the next five games upon his return by a combined score of 6-14 might even suggest that he had a negative effect on his team.
The Sharks rebounded to go 10-4-1, but Moore had just four assists and a minus-six rating. His playoff experience was not evident in the three playoff games he played: He scored no points and was minus-1.
More to the point, the Sharks goals-against average was more than a full goal worse in games he played than those he did not. Dominic Moore was on the ice for under 15 minutes on average, but was out there for one goal each game without an answer.
Unfortunately, the thing Moore is most remembered for in the 2012 playoffs is being the victim of a sneak attack that drove him to the ice in the second game of the first round. Fortunately, neither the action nor his fate were as bad as his brother, Steve Moore, who suffered tragedy at the hands of Todd Bertuzzi.