Sep 25, 2013
Simon Moser has managed to fly a little bit under the radar in the past couple of weeks. A non-roster invitee to Predators training camp, Moser is the last player still with the team that is not under contract to Nashville.
Under contract with Bern in Switzerland, the 24-year-old Swiss forward has survived 3 rounds of cuts and is in the thick of the battle to be on Nashville’s roster for opening night of the regular season.
On Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena, Moser answered the question of “Who is Simon Moser?” in the best way he could – scoring the opening goal in Nashville’s 2-1 preseason win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The goal was Moser’s first in any form of NHL competition and would have been the game-winner were it not for a last minute goal from Tampa Bay.
“It was an easy one,” Moser said. “I got the perfect pass, so I just had to put it into an empty net.”
Moser’s goal came as Rich Clune exited the penalty box, took a hold of the puck, raced in on former Predators netminder Anders Lindback and passed the puck to a streaking Moser who buried it.
As Nashville head coach Barry Trotz described it, “Clune has been very flawless on breakaways and shoot outs. I thought he was going to score, but I like the fact that he stayed with the puck and made a great decision. Moser stayed in the play, got a great pass and put it in for a goal.”
For Moser, who has played in multiple international competitions as a member of the Swiss team – including a recent silver medal in 2013 World Championships – playing against NHL players is sort of “old hat”. However, he admits that everything appears to be going his way.
“I played at the World Championships against NHL players, so every time I go out on the ice I just try to be a part of the team,” Moser said. “I do my stuff and stick to the system. This time it went really well.”
On Tuesday night, the Predators did not announce any further roster cuts. However, Moser has been around for several in the past week and has seen a few players who played with the Predators last season pack their bags to head back to Milwaukee.
“It’s always hard to see guys leaving, but it’s my first time here in North America,” Moser said. “I just try to show up and play my physical game and it’s nice to score, but I’m really lucky that the team wanted me.”
Moser also realizes that the ball isn’t entirely in Nashville’s court. Moser is at training camp on a tryout, but that means that he is a free agent. If Nashville offers him a contract, he does not have to take it, necessarily, as he is already under contract to Bern in Switzerland.
“I take it day-by-day and step-by-step,” Moser said. “It’s an Olympic year so there are big decisions to make, but I think I will go my own way. Either way it’s going to be a huge part of my career.”
“I try not to think too much about it,” Moser continued. “When I step on the ice I give 100 percent and at the end we’ll see if it matches up or not. I can only do my part and the rest is up to the organization.”
Barry Trotz was adamant that Simon Moser has a very real chance of making the Nashville Predators.
“I knew what Moser was all about because I saw him at the World Championships,” Trotz said. “I watched him very closely and he is doing the same thing. Overall, the Swiss players are not very big, but they are very quick in terms of the rush. Moser plays a tight-area game and he can play very well in those tight areas. Moser is one of those guys who does not have a problem with a small area game. The fact that he plays a very mature game is one of his strengths. He is doing what I expected as a very reliable, smart hockey player.”
For Moser, regardless of what happens, he’s being sure to soak it all in.
“It’s pretty impressive to be here,” Moser said. “It was always a dream to be here and right now I’m living it. That’s what gives me the power to step on the ice every day. I enjoy it and have fun and take it all in. I love it.”
Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua