When veteran two-way center Dominic Moore signed a one-year deal with the Bruins back on Aug. 30 for $900,000, it’s safe to say that it barely made a ripple around the NHL. Playing for his 10th club, it was no guarantee that Moore would make Boston’s opening day roster - let alone have a profound impact at any point of the 2016 season. Fast forward to 22 games into this campaign and Moore looks like a complete steal by Bruins GM Don Sweeney (himself a former Harvard star as well). Not only has Moore stabilized Boston’s revamped fourth line with faceoff wins and responsible defensive play but he’s also provided an unexpected scoring punch to go along with that.
“He’s a committed player,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said about Moore.
“It’s fun playing with him,” added his new linemate right wing Jimmy Hayes. “He wins the puck and gets it in deep. He’s more talented than people give him credit for.”
In Sunday’s impressive 4-1 win over Tampa Bay (13-9-1), Moore scored Boston’s second goal which gave him six on the season. That’s notable for two reasons: he tied left wing Brad Marchand for second on the team in goals behind right wing David Pastrnak (12 goals) while simultaneously matching Moore’s entire total from 80 games last season with the Rangers. He was born in Sarnia, Ontario but at this point Moore might as well be an honorary Bostonian since he’s spent a good deal of time in this area. In the 1999-2000 season with the Crimson, he joined his older brothers Mark and Steve (who spent three years with the Avalanche) as the first trio of brothers to ever play for the Harvard men’s hockey team. Dominic was a third round pick by the Rangers in 2000 (95th overall).
“Honestly, I’m not really thinking about scoring (goals),” admitted Moore. “I just want to play my game and help us contribute as a line. The team has been struggling lately to score goals (just four in a three-game losing streak that ended on Sunday) and that starts by defending well. We need to make plays coming out of our zone.”
At age 36, his NHL journey has been a remarkable one in the sense that he’s continued to find work in numerous places: Rangers, Penguins, Wild, Maple Leafs, Sabres, Panthers, Canadiens, Lightning and Sharks before coming to the Bruins. For now, he’s enjoying the ride in Black and Gold as he has added three assists to go along with those six goals. He’s reached double-digits in goals four times in his 11 NHL seasons with a career-high of 18 with Tampa Bay in 2010-11. All told, he has 95 goals and 159 assists in 787 regular season games. In 93 career playoff games, he has 12 goals and 16 assists. If the Bruins can break their recent playoff drought this spring, you have to think the leadership and overachieving nature of a player like Moore will be an underrated reason why they get to the postseason.