John Moore is 31 and in the middle of a five-year, $13.75 million deal. Ordinarily, those are not the types you tend to see in the AHL, but that’s a reality the Boston Bruins defenseman has taken in stride.
With the Bruins loaded with depth on defense, Moore, after a good training camp, got put on waivers and eventually sent to Providence. He could’ve sulked, or just shown up, gone through practices and games and left without causing a stir.
Instead, he’s taken on a leadership role with the P-Bruins, helping guide some of Boston’s potential D-men of the future like Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen and Brady Lyle.
“He definitely brought a spark down to Providence,” Ahcan told reporters Monday. “We were kind of down in the dumps, not the best start down there, and he came in with a great attitude. You’re always learning from someone like him, staying on the ice after with him, practicing with him, seeing the way he approaches everyday life at the rink is pretty awesome to see. He rubs off on a lot of guys.”
Moore is in Year 4 of that five-year pact. He was a solid contributor in 2018-19 but played through a shoulder injury that postseason that delayed his start to the 2019-20 campaign. It took him a while to find his footing, and the COVID-19 pause didn’t help. By the time the 2020-21 campaign rolled around, he was dealing with a hip injury that limited his effectiveness and ultimately required surgery.
Returning this season and delivering a good training camp was a promising start. Although he didn’t make the roster out of camp, he posted one goal with four assists in nine games with Providence before getting hurt.
But as a non-COVID illness, plus an injury to Jakub Zboril, impacts the Bruins dressing room, Moore is back up with the big club. It’s possible he returns to NHL game action Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks.
“I think just getting comfortable in his game (was important),” coach Joe Sacco said of Moore’s trip down to Providence. “He’s a guy that brings a lot of energy to the group., He skates well, he also can provide us with some puck-moving ability … I think the reports down there were that he was playing well until he got injured down there. But certainly, he’s a guy that brings a lot of speed and a lot of energy to our group. With Johnny, it’s staying consistent.”
Regardless of how he’s played in certain moments, the one thing about Moore that’s indisputable is he cares and is a good pro. If he takes this opportunity to prove he belongs as an NHL regular, that’s a good thing for the Bruins and a player who is trying to stay up.