The 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The first round will take place on June 28 (7:00 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVAS) and rounds 2-7 will take place on June 29 (11:00 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS). NHL.com is counting down to the draft with in-depth profiles of top prospects, podcasts and other features. Today, a look at center Oliver Moore with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team. Full draft coverage can be found here Here.
Oliver Moore may be the fastest skater of any candidate for the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft.
It’s a part of the game that he’s perfected over time, and NHL scouts have taken notice.
“I think it’s all about going deep and using the right muscles,” Moore said. “You have to use the big muscles to be fast and I think that matters a lot. It’s also a lot about reps, about going to the gym to work on that explosiveness.”
Moore was undeniably explosive, but he also proved to be a hard worker and scorer for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program under-18 team. The 18-year-old center (5’7″, 195 pounds) No. 8 in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings of North American skaters presented by BioSteel, ranks fourth in the NTDP with 75 points (31 goals, 44 assists) in 61 games this season.
“I was pretty fast from a young age, but I think it’s all about repetition,” Moore said. “My skating coach Katie McDonough (of Cutting Edge Performance Power Skating in Minnesota) was amazing. Without her, I wouldn’t be the figure skater I am. I’ve been working with her since sixth and seventh grade.”
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But Moore proved to be far more than just a fast, versatile skater. He’s also learned a valuable lesson this season about how hard work can play a key role in any profession, be it on the ice or on a flower farm.
Moore’s billet family, Lynsey and Rob Taulbee, are the owners of Muddy Acres Flower Farm, located on a 17-acre property in Plymouth, Michigan. Lynsey, Rob and their sons Tyler and Drew each do their part to maintain the farm, which has been in operation since 2017.
Lynsey didn’t ask Moore to do any chores on the farm, knowing he had enough to do with exercise and eating healthy every day. However, she used him as an example for entrepreneurs who wanted to one day build their own farms.
“In addition to tending to the farm, I enjoy teaching other farmers across the country and around the world on social media how to start and build their own farms, and I have always used Oliver as an example in doing so,” said Lynsey. “If that’s what you want, you have to have the guts and determination. I’d always say that Oliver might not want to get up at 6 a.m. to lift weights, but he does what it takes and has done his best beyond that. He has definitely been used as a role model for education on our farm many times.”
Moore will attend the University of Minnesota in the fall and said he might pursue a career in business, an area he gained a greater appreciation for while living with the Taulbees.
“I was always a city kid and my dad worked hard as a lawyer, but it was a different kind of hard work,” Moore said. “I mean, Lynsey has worked hard on her flower farm and her business, and it’s been really cool to be able to ask her questions about how to run the business and make important business decisions. We talked about it all the time and it was cool to see the community that she was able to build.”
Moore also had a pretty decent setup.
Every morning he had fresh eggs that he collected from a nearby chicken coop. The Taulbees also had a shooting range with a net in one of the barns. Tyler, who is 13, and Drew, 11, are travel hockey players and watched Moore whenever they got the chance.
“I think it was a really good experience for her to see what it takes to be where Oliver is,” Lynsey said. “Having that level of play, that achievement, that level of media attention… that’s a lot. I think we’ve all learned that it’s a lot more than we could ever have imagined.”
“When we’re all enjoying the birthday cake, he didn’t want a piece of it because he didn’t like the feel of the cake on the ice. Seeing this dedication is an eye opener because I don’t know I could go without a piece of cake.
It’s that dedication and his groundbreaking speed that have tipped Moore as an early pick for the first round of the draft.
“His speed is skyrocketing,” said Pat Cullen of Central Scouting. “I think he’s the fastest skater out of all the contenders for this year’s draft, and I don’t know that there are many people who would disagree with that. Speed is one thing, but his work ethic is incredible. That never happens.” A game that you’re a part of where you don’t see that Oliver Moore works extremely hard, and that’s more noticeable in how quickly he does everything.”
Video: NHL Draft: The Best of Oliver Moore
Moore is capable of playing either in the middle or on the wing. He was a multi-athlete at Totino-Grace High School in Minnesota, where he played hockey, soccer and basketball. In his freshman year he chose ice hockey.
“I’m still learning to improve but also feel like I have a great shot and finishing ability,” he said. “I want to be a player who can defend quickly. I’m proud of this area of the game.”
photos: Rena Laverty, NTDP; Taulbee family
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