After being acquired by the Rangers at the trade deadline, John Moore has had many new experiences, both professionally and away from the rink after making the transition from Columbus to the Big Apple. Next week, he’ll experience yet another first: playing in the postseason.
Last year in his first full season in the NHL, Moore and the Blue Jackets were not competitive, finishing last in the NHL with just 65 points. This year, though, after coming to New York, Moore — along with forward Derick Brassard and injured forward Derek Dorsett — has been part of big games with playoff implications every night.
After practice on Friday, Moore said the 12 games he’s played as a Ranger have “undoubtedly” been the biggest of his young career.
“The magnitude of these games is really unrivaled in my career,” Moore told BlueshirtsUnited.com. “Last year in Columbus, we weren’t really playing for much from Christmas time on. It’s exciting from that standpoint. I’ve just been trying to have fun with it more than anything.”
Moore has been a standout on the blueline for the Rangers since he first put on the sweater earlier this month. In 12 games, Moore has a goal and four assists and is a plus-7. In 17 games with the Blue Jackets this season, Moore had no goals and just one assist and was a minus-5.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella has praised the 22-year-old defenseman after admitting he knew little to nothing about Moore prior the trade. Tortorella has compared Moore to Ryan McDonagh, going as far as to say he has mistaken the two on the ice due to their comparable speed and similar jersey number — Moore 17, McDonagh 27.
“He’s played well,” Tortorella said following last week’s win in Buffalo. “I think he’s showed us more than we expected. I didn’t know much about him, especially offensively ... I think he feels good about himself … [and] hopefully it’ll continue.”
Moore said while he doesn’t think the game itself will change much from the regular season into the playoffs, he expects the tempo and intensity to be ratcheted up a level or two.
“Watching it my whole life, I can expect it’s going to be intense, but that’s to be expected,” he said. “From a personal standpoint, I’m going to be pretty pumped up to play in that first game. I’m excited more than anything.”
It has been a challenging season for the Rangers, but the team appears to be hitting its stride at just the right time, going 9-3-1 in April.
Moore said that while he can’t compare the mindset of a team battling for a playoff spot to one that clinched early like last season’s team, this squad has every reason to feel good about itself heading into the postseason.
“I think more than anything we’re confident in here as a group,” he said. “Fortunately, I think we’re playing some pretty good hockey going into the playoffs.”