Kings’ Moore Earns New Contract With Strong Two-Way Play

Trevor Moore was a pending unrestricted free agent heading into next summer, but the Los Angeles Kings made their intentions clear that they wanted him on board. He signed a five-year extension with the organization, with an average annual value of $4.2 million. Moore has become a fan favorite because of his style of play, and because he is the first player from Southern California to truly make a difference with the team. He may be underrated around the league, but the Kings certainly value his contribution.

Moore Traded to Kings

On Feb. 5, 2020, the Kings traded Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford to the Toronto Maple Leafs and received Moore and two third-round picks. The return wasn’t seen as impressive at the time, as he was still a part-time player with the Maple Leafs and had spent a bit of time in the American Hockey League that season. He only played 15 games with the Kings in the 2019-20 season before it was interrupted by COVID, and scored three goals and five points. There really wasn’t anything in his profile to suggest that he would make a true impact at the NHL level.

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The Kings had many young forwards vying for roster spots heading into the 2020-21 season, but Moore was able to secure one full-time. This was when he really started to establish himself as a useful player, scoring 23 points while playing in all 56 games. He was utilized a lot on the penalty kill, playing the third-most shorthanded minutes among the team’s forwards. He certainly carved out a role and was rewarded with a two-year bridge deal worth $1.875 million per season.

The next season was Moore’s true breakout year. He was a key player on the second line with Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson, arguably the Kings’ best line at the time. They spent 471 minutes together at five-on-five, controlling 58.34 percent of the shot attempts and scoring 56 percent of the goals. He continued to excel as a penalty killer, scoring five shorthanded goals, which tied for the league lead.

Moore’s 2022-23 Season

This season hasn’t quite been as good for Moore as the previous one. His scoring rate at five-on-five has dropped from 1.98 points per 60 minutes to 1.33, even falling below his 2021 rate of 1.51. He has gotten a bit unlucky, with an overall on-ice shooting percentage of just 6.04 percent, the worst since he joined the Kings. Since he’s playing with the same linemates for the majority of his ice time, you would expect that to regress to normal.

Where Moore has improved is how he drives possession. His relative Corsi for percentage is plus-3.16, the best of his career. In other words, his team is averaging 3.64 percent more shot attempts in their favor than they are allowing when he is on the ice. He’s also playing well on the penalty kill and only trails defensive stalwarts Danault and Anze Kopitar for shorthanded ice time among forwards.

Trevor Moore Los Angeles Kings
Trevor Moore, Los Angeles Kings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While Moore is clearly a good player, the question is, how valuable is someone that performs his role? The Kings have to be careful with how they allocate their money, as they are tight against the salary cap this season with not many contracts coming off the books. Before Moore’s extension, they had six forwards with a cap hit of $4 million or higher next season. This is a lot of money tied up with forwards, but the depth is strong enough that these contracts are justified.

Moore’s Value, the Contract, and the Salary Cap

Moore’s $4.2 million cap hit is comparable to Arvidsson and Alex Iafallo on the Kings, who are both in the same range. He’s seen more ice time per game than these guys this season but also averages fewer points per game than them. Moore has also been playing a lot of important shifts against the other teams’ best players, which has elevated his minutes to fourth among forwards on the team.

Related: Gabe Vilardi’s Breakout Season Provides Scoring Depth

$4.2 million might seem like a lot for Moore’s player archetype, but it’s actually a fair contract given all that he contributes to the team. According to data gathered by The Athletic, this deal is actually a bargain for the Kings on the current market.

It seems like the Kings were never going to let Moore reach unrestricted free agency. Locking him up for five years might be a little longer than ideal because he will be 33 by the end of it, but he should be able to deliver value for at least the first three years of the contract. If he can improve his individual shooting percentage from a measly 4.82 percent this season, he could be considered one of the best two-way, middle-six wingers in the NHL.

After signing Moore, the Kings have committed $69 million and change in cap hits next season. That is without having a goaltender besides Cal Petersen under contract for 2023-24. The key restricted free agents they need to sign to new deals will be Gabriel Vilardi and Mikey Anderson. With the salary cap not projected to go up a ton from the $82.5 million it was this year, the Kings likely will have just enough to give those guys raises and acquire another goalie.

Moore was an important player to re-sign, but it won’t leave a ton of wiggle room next season if new players are needed to improve the roster. Most Kings’ fans won’t care though if he continues to deliver the same level of energy and consistent strong play on the ice.

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