Jacob Moverare was the only Los Angeles Kings’ prospect invited to play at the 2106 National Junior Evaluation Camp (NJEC) this year. Selected at No. 112 at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Swedish defender was trying out for Sweden’s national junior team in Plymouth, Michigan last weekend, for the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship.
Wearing number seven on his jersey, Moverare had ‘Kings’ prospect’ written all over him. His innocent look, big-boy frame, and smooth-talking charm made him an immediate, and constant impact for Team Sweden, who played against Team Canada last Friday. “I think I did pretty good,” Moverare told The Hockey Writers. “We won, so obviously that’s the most important thing.”
Being on the winning team isn’t what makes Moverare look like a future King, though. It’s his attitude, and the intangibles he brings to the ice. At this year’s NJEC, if you saw a group of players huddled in front of Sweden’s net, you were pretty much guaranteed to find Moverare smack dab in the center of it.
On top of that, he loves his board battles. If a battle in Sweden’s end lasted more than two seconds, you’d probably see that Moverare was involved. “I like to win the puck for the team,” he said smiling from ear to ear. “I’m always trying to win the battles in the corners.”
That’s what makes him such a great fit for the Kings, his inclination towards physicality — something the Kings’ organization never asked him to work on. Moverare just had it to begin with.
He’s a Kings’ Prospect with a Strategy
The biggest game changer for Moverare will be taking his skating up to a much higher level, and this change will begin early on in the 2016-17 season.
Among Moverare’s numerous qualities, one of the things he does need to work on is his skating. So when it came to making a decision on where he would play in the upcoming season, being a European Draft pick for both the CHL, and NHL Draft had prolonged his decision-making process. Moverare had more options to choose from, than his North American counterparts. “It’s probably going to be Mississauga,” he told The Hockey Writers.
There are a few things factoring into Moverare’s final decision, one being James Richmond, Head Coach of the Mississauga Steelheads. “I know their coach is an LA Kings former skating coach,” Moverare said. Richmond’s expertise is in skating development, and that makes him the ideal match for Moverare. “He’s going to try to help because I need to improve my skating,” he continued, “It’s going to be really good to have a coach that’s really good at teaching skating.”
It sounds like Moverare’s made up his mind. He will need to report to the Steelheads near the end of August, so there’s not very much time left. “I think I’m going [to Mississauga] the 28th of August, so I’m off till then. After this, I’m going to go to Sweden to get my stuff, and say goodbye to my friends, and family for a little while.”
Looking forward to join @OHLSteelheads for the upcoming season🐟
— jacob moverare (@moveraree) August 8, 2016
Moverare’s Swedish Heritage Reflected on & off Ice
Moverare’s mother is a lawyer, and his father is an economic advisor for companies. “He tracks the money and gets everything right so it’s going plus, instead of minus,” he explained in an effort to translate his father’s job description into English. It comes to no surprise that Moverare considers his hockey IQ to be his biggest asset. “I think the game pretty good – that’s one of my best things,” he said. “I think I have pretty good positioning in the defensive zone, trying to be at the right place at the right time.”
In all honesty, Moverare does have a fashionable style-of-play on the ice. Equally fashionable is his sense-of-style off the ice. “I think I have pretty good fashion,” he said. “I didn’t have that good of fashion three, or four years ago, but I think I stepped it up to a whole other level now.”
Rooted in Swedish culture, Swedish hockey players in the National Hockey League have a reputation for being well-dressed, and Moverare only reinforces that reputation. “I like to shop for new clothes, and I have a friend on my team that helps me,” he told The Hockey Writers. “He’s the same age as me, so I think I have a good style right now.”
Moverare has every reason to be confident about making the move to Canadian soil. There’s just one minor inconvenience. His birthday is on August 31st, three days after he’s supposed to report to Mississauga. It’s not just any birthday either. It’s his 18th birthday, and in Sweden, the legal drinking age is 18. Spending his birthday in Sweden this year would go a long way in preparing him for North American celebrations, and we all know playing for the Los Angeles Kings demands constant celebrating.