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Patrick Moynihan: A Sharpshooting Forward with Speed || 2019 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Patrick Moynihan, right wing for the USNTDP, has good hands and a quick shot—but does he check off the right boxes to end up wearing a Devils jersey in June?

Moynihan (left) and teammate Marshall Warren
Rena Laverty

Who is Patrick Moynihan?

Along with Alex Vlasic, Jack Hughes, Drew Hellesen and Marshall Warren who have all graced our profiles this week, Patrick Moynihan also plays for the USA U-18 team and participated in the World Juniors earlier this year and the IIHF World Under-18 Championship last month. The 5’11”, 183lb RW/C has typically played among the middle six forwards on Team USA’s explosive offensive lineup for the past two seasons, and has committed to Providence College for the 2019-2020 season.

Moynihan’s stats are not quite so explosive as the front half of USA’s forward lines, though he has definitely improved over the past year. Last season he put up 16 goals on 72 shots and tallied 16 assists during 61 regular season games, 7 goals and 12 assists in 34 USNTDP Juniors games, and produced 2 goals and an assist in 6 games at the U17 Championships. In total he averaged about half a point and a little more than one shot per game. Moynihan stepped up his game for this season, scoring 19 goals and 26 assists in 64 games, this time averaging about .7 points and 1.5 shots per game. His improvements continued for a display at Juniors, adding 12 goals and 10 assists in only 28 games. The U18 level of the World Championships wasn’t quite as impressed and he was unable to find the back of the net in any of their seven games, though he did pick up three assists.

Moynihan’s numbers can start to raise some eyebrows as you scroll past the points section. With the exception of the U17 and U18 Championship games, Moynihan appears to take a penalty every other game, averaging more PIM per game than he does points. Game logs actually show him very rarely taking penalties however—except for three games. Back in December he picked up 15 penalty minutes and an ejection in the first period of a game against St. Cloud for boarding a defenseman, and then in February he took two misconduct penalties in three games (2/06, 2/09). The previous season was the same; occasional minors topped off by one 12 PIM game, a 6-1 loss to the Waterloo Black Hawks. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like Moynihan is a goon, or just decides to go rogue sometimes— both the US team and Waterloo each had 7 power plays on a grand total of 42 PIM handed out throughout the course of the game. The two games he earned misconduct penalties in totaled 80 PIM altogether. At no point in any of his seasons or tournaments did he have a disproportionate number of penalties to the rest of the team. Moynihan is a physical player who does not shy away from contact—he can occasionally cross the line when the intensity is high, but he appears to be a generally clean player who rarely leaves his team shorthanded.

So with all those numbers floating around him, where does that leave his predicted value?

Where is Patrick Moynihan Ranked?

Moynihan’s value appears to differ vastly between different estimates. NHL Central Scouting has Moynihan ranked #73 on their final list for North American players, a big jump from the #102 they predicted on the midterms. TSN’s Craig Button also has him ranked at #70.

By contrast, Future Considerations has apparently not considered Moynihan— or at least, they do not consider him part of their top 100 prospects they have listed.

Larry Fisher of The Hockey Writers has considered Moynihan, and apparently been less impressed others because he has him ranked at #147, though this is also a bump up from where he originally predicted him for midterms.

Steve Kournianis of The Draft Analyst has also warmed to Moynihan over the season. Having started the year with him ranked down at #190, Moynihan jumped up to #156 at midterms and again to #102 for the final ranking in April. Kournianis’s Mock Draft from early March of this year, which is ordered not just by prospect ranking but by his assessment of team tendencies and prospect skill sets, leapfrogged Moynihan all the way up to #46th overall. In brief explanation for his high pick prediction, Kournianis described Moynihan as a “sniper with a heavy shot” and cited his ability to provide “an energy boost or an impact play” wherever needed.

What Have Other People Said About Moynihan?

Moynihan hasn’t gotten much attention from prospect-watchers yet as he’s generally expected to be, at the earliest, a third rounder. Fortunately, putting up a stretch of hockey where you score 12 goals plus another 11 assists in 16 games, including two hat tricks less than a month apart, turns at least a few heads.

What may be most impressive about Moynihan is not actually his game, so much as it is his ability to get every single person who discusses his play to say the exact same things, even years apart. U.S. Hockey Report assessed Moynihan’s performance at a U16 Tournament in 2015. Their scouts were primarily impressed with his skating, noting “Moynihan... is extremely smooth and light on his feet. He’s quick, he’s agile, he’s athletic, he’s always moving [and] looking for an opening...”.

Two years later at USA Hockey’s NTDP Evaluation Camp, team scouts and coaches described Moynihan (via Jeff Cox of SB Nation College Hockey) as “He’s fast and gets off a lot of shots on goal. He’s not the biggest player but he’s quick and dynamic enough to not let that hold him back. His release on his shot is so quick... He’s not a bottom six type forward.”

Fast forward to this season, particularly the second half of this past season, and Moynihan started to turn some heads. Hockey Prospects have profiled three games on him since January, which summarize him as an extremely strong skater, highly agile, constantly moving and always ready to make a play. A smart and competitive player, Moynihan puts in the effort to make each play and has the skills to see it through.

Hockey Prophet’s Brian Fogarty reviewed Moynihan’s play during the February 16th game vs. Chicago. Early in the game Fogarty commented that Moynihan appeared to lag behind the play and not move his feet, possessing only average speed when he was actually moving. However, later in the game his impression shifted so completely he states Moynihan is actually “always moving, always making himself available...”, and does an excellent job of communicating with his teammates and covering defensively. He summarized Moynihan following the game as an above-average skater with good hockey smarts, all-around positioning, and game awareness. He also commented that Moynihan may be providing a middle-six two-way player type role for the USNTDP U18s, but looks like he can do and be more.

A Few Visual Aids... let’s see what all the fuss is about

Moynihan’s one-timer from the Feb. 16th game isn’t available to include the video here (though you can see it on the Stars n’ Stripes web page) but fortunately he did almost the same thing the day before. For your viewing pleasure:

USA is not on the power play here, but Moynihan notices that the other team is making a change and finds himself some wide open ice right where he wants to be. USA was changing at the time as well, so he either noticed their mistake right as he got onto the ice or he was trying to change, saw they could catch them in the change and turned around to go back for the rush. The other aspect we can see in this clip is the shot mentioned by both Kournianos and Cox. The “knuckleball” caption is spot on— this puck didn’t go in because of the speed of the shot, Moynihan is actually moving away from his shot instead of into it. He flings half of a snap shot at the goalie and it somehow ends up top corner. Somebody’s been practicing their Ovechkin-style curvepuck.

Rolston deserves credit for pressuring the puck carrier in this clip, but Moynihan is the player who then comes streaking down the middle, decides to follow up on the player circling back, steals the puck, the puck to the front of the net and when no one is there and the goalie bites and goes down for the poke check, he’s got himself a wide open net. Players can say play hard, get pucks to the net, forecheck/backcheck in every interview they ever have (which they pretty much do) but this result is 100% why you want to actually do it. Moynihan takes initiative and goes after the puck carrier, out battles him, then calmly holds the puck and waits while surrounded by opposing players and the goalie diving at him until he has a clear shot.

Net. Front. Presence.

There’s nothing I love more than seeing a forward or two refuse to concede the neutral zone. Farrell swings through first and applies some pressure as they regroup, then Moynihan moves in as they try to cross the blue line. A good effort by both players to keep the pressure on leads to the breakaway for Moynihan, who goes for the simple but silky stickhandling across to force the goalie to have to make a lateral move and open up the five hole.

Moynihan works the PK for Team USA, I think all Devils fans can especially appreciate the beauty of a good shortie —this is exactly the kind of play that made all of those shorthanded odd-man rushes happen for the Devils this season— the penalty killer takes the chance to step up on a loose puck at the blue line, trying to at least force the other team out of the zone. Instead of poking it offside and giving up on it, he battles for it and comes away with the opportunity in the clip.

If you like your hockey players to be on the scrappy side, you’re covered. He’s not the biggest guy on the ice but Moynihan doesn’t seem to shy from any of the physical aspects of the game—boarding penalties, line brawls and face washes apparently included (doesn’t really go all that well for him here, but hey, A for effort).

The Verdict-To Draft, or Not to Draft?

Patrick Moynihan is not the kind of player that gets taken in the first or second round—he’s not big, he’s not flashy, he’s not the kind of player you stick right in on your power play or expect a 40 goal season from. He’s not the high-risk, high-reward type of prospect, which makes him the ideal pick for a team that’s already guaranteed to pick the best (to our interpretation) player available, plus three other picks in the second round alone. The draft pool is looking pretty good this year, so four first two round picks will mean four dynamic players that can potentially fill out your top 6 forward lines or add some skill and depth to the blue line. Come round three, now it’s time to take at least one pick that can help build your offense through all four lines.

The Devils have two third-round picks in this draft (neither of which is actually our own... but it’s fine because one of them is Anaheim’s so they’re only a few picks off what we would have been anyway). We’ll be picking 70th overall; Patrick Moynihan is projected by most to go 73rd or below. Barring some utterly amazing sequence of events that leaves a clearly can’t-miss player still available by the time our fifth pick rolls around (think there’s any way to convince the hockey community that alliteration is horribly bad luck so they’ll skip over Kaapo Kakko, Bowen Byram and Cole Caufield...?) he would be a perfect pick for the Devils in that spot. Moynihan is a hard-working player with impressive skating mechanics, good speed, an even better shot, and an excellent sense of his positioning and overall gameplay that makes him dangerous both with the puck and without it. His stats have consistently improved through each season, and he’ll have at least one more year to continue to develop at Providence College before making the jump to play at the NHL level. He already battles for the puck in all three zones, plays smart and fast, has the skills to get where he wants to be and an excellent shot to finish it off. The rebuild needs players that can handle the type of game that our best forwards play, and there’s no better test for that than having played on a team with Jack Hughes.

In addition to the potential addition of Jack Hughes and possibly one or two other NTDP players to the roster this draft, the Devils are already chock full of players and prospects who have played in the NTDP or for Team USA’s U17/18 teams internationally. Walsh, Quenneville, McLeod, Anderson, Wood, Butcher, Carrick, and Santini are all U17 or U18 Team USA alumni, a familiarity that will make locker room and bench adjustments even easier. Moynihan has repeatedly discussed the importance of the connections within the team for overall success in player profiles, and even specifically used the word “brotherhood” to describe it. He plays the right game, he has the talent, and he already believes in the mentality of the locker room that the rest of the team shares. I think Patrick Moynihan would make an excellent addition to the New Jersey Devils system for pick #70 this year.

Your Take

More importantly, what do you think about Moynihan? Should we draft him if he’s available, and if so, when? If we draft him, where does he fit in our eventual lines? Leave your thoughts and comments below and thanks for reading!