Jeepers! John Moore Called Up
Local radio host Scot Torgerson said he had a big breaking news story for his call in show on 97.1 this afternoon, and it seems he wasn't kidding.
Torg broke the news that the Blue Jackets have called up 2009 first round pick John Moore, adding him to the team to replace Rostislav Klesla, who is still recovering from a knee injury suffered vs. St. Louis.
Many thought Moore would be a lock for the team this year after working out in Columbus over the summer and a strong pre-season performance last season, but this year Moore seemed to take a step back - by his own admission overthinking and perhaps putting too much pressure on himself.
The team made the decision to start Moore in Springfield to work on the transition from Major Junior hockey to the pro game, where he got off to a slow start, but has been improving. (Despite contributing 3G and 15A in his first 47 games, he's also been a -13 on the year.) Moore recently attended the AHL all star game as the Falcons' representative, and now will play in his first NHL regular season games, likely replacing Anton Stralman in the lineup.
On the one hand, it's pretty easy to argue that the team might have gone for another, more experienced D-man like Nick Holden (40GP, 2G, 11A, +2, per The Hockey Writers' Rick Gethin), but this is not just a move to boost the team (though I am sure that both Scott Howson and Scott Arniel are hoping he will do so). Moore has name recognition and a little bit of a cachet that will get fans' attention in what has been an uneven and disappointing 2011, and likely will bring a nice upswing in ticket sales for Saturday's matchup against the Oilers. Moore also will not be subject to waivers, as the team was forced to deal with in the revolving door of forwards that lead to Kyle Wilson and Tom Sestito being sent back down.
Is it a desperation move from a club that started the year saying they hoped to give prospects like Moore, Matt Calvert, and David Savard "time to develop"? Absolutely. Let's face it - right now, every move by the club up to (and potentially including) the trade deadline is going to be a desperation move, a gamble to to push them back towards that slowly fading playoff picture.
As those go, it's easy to see the logic - guys like Matt Calvert and Grant Clitsome made an immediate and measurable impact. So did Sestito and Holden. So you take a deep breath, close your eyes, and put your hand back into the jar hoping you come out with another cookie, and that the lid doesn't get slammed down on your hand.