“Best comparison for Oliver Moore? Max Verstappen.”
That would have been an obscure reference in North America a few years ago. But the rise of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” has showcased Formula 1 to a bigger audience than ever before.
And that includes Moore’s family. He said he and his Dad will watch races together, but he doesn’t have a favorite driver. But it’s fitting that one of the fastest drivers in the NHL Draft follows the world’s fastest sport.
And just like F1 before him, Moore is ready to be introduced to a whole new audience: NHL fans.
Moore, projected to go somewhere near the bottom of the top 10, is an intriguing prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft. While most of the hype surrounding the United States National Team Development Program involved the top line of Will Smith, Ryan Leonard and Gabe Perreault, Moore was there carving out his own path.
And quickly, as the season went on, Moore established himself as a potential top-10 prospect for the draft — and one many scouts say has some untapped potential. Moore had 31 goals and 75 points with the U-18 team, good for fourth behind the usual trio. He separated himself from the rest of the pack, putting a 28-point spread over Danny Nelson for fifth in team scoring.
But it’s the skating that gets everyone talking. Any time a graphic showing the fastest skaters for a game was flashed on the Jumbotron at the U-18 World Championship in Basel earlier this year, Moore’s name was at the top.
“From an overall perspective, he’s a top-five skater since (Connor) McDavid came around,” a scout said. “The speed, agility, the transition. It’s as close to perfect as you’d hope for at this age group, kind of like Jack Hughes.”
Moore reaches a high top speed with what looks like very minimal effort. It doesn’t take many strides to get going, and he rarely loses puck races — he’s the ultimate icing killer. At 5-foot-11 and 176, he’s lightweight, but still has the leg muscles to kill. There’s genuinely nobody like him in the speed category, and that alone should give him opportunities in the NHL.
Moore credits his skating tutor, Katie McDonald, as a big part in developing his speed. The pair have worked together since Moore was in the sixth grade, with a focus on maximizing his stride. Moore also said he follows Detroit’s Dylan Larkin closely, primarily how he uses his speed to his advantage.
What about Moore’s skating does he think he excels at the most?
“I think it’s my first three strides, I think that it kind of separates me from (other player’s skating),” Moore said. “I think my top speed is good, and I can get up there pretty high. I’m working on controlling the speed of my game.”
But there’s so much more to Moore’s game than downright pace. And a lot of that has to do with his work ethic.
“He’s a relentless competitor,” said Dan Muse, Moore’s coach at the USNTDP. “You can be fast and create offense off of that. His speed drives his game, but he’s a guy who works at both ends of the ice. There are so many different ways where he’s able to create momentum. He has a great stick, a great shot… With his speed, his work ethic and compete, he can create offense in so many different ways.”
Hidden behind all the speed talk is Moore’s electric shot — which also happens to be quite quick. He’s dangerously accurate, and that starts with hard work in practice and warmups before games. He’s always looking to pick off corners with his quick release. Moore also does an excellent job of protecting the puck and making passes under pressure, and he has some solid hands. When it comes to offense, he’s often best when he keeps it simple. Moore is also a stout special teams forward, playing on both the power play and on the penalty kill all season long with the USNTDP.
Moore was the catalyst for success no matter who he played with this year. For much of the season, that was alongside Nelson and Will Vote. Moore then spent time with Cole Eiserman, a top 2024 draft prospect, and James Hagens, a star for 2025. Moore finished the year with Ryan Fine and Carey Terrance, both of whom will be later-round picks at best. And no matter who he played with, Muse seemed to love Moore’s game — saying he made everyone around him better.
Moore wore the “A” with USA, a topic Muse loves to discuss.
“He’s a leader, there’s a reason he’s wearing a letter,” Muse said. “Whatever we’re doing, he’s a guy that can push everybody. Whether it’s in the weight room, in practice, or whatever it is. He’s an extremely, extremely, extremely driven hockey player, and person. He’s extremely coachable and he’s always trying to find ways to get better.”
Some areas are still a work in progress, especially when it comes to physicality and decision-making off the rush. But Moore has time on his side, and college should be great for his development. He’s set to join the University of Minnesota, a team featuring top NCAA forwards Logan Cooley and Jimmy Snuggerud. This could be an opportunity for Moore to be a solid No. 2 center, or perhaps see some time on the top line in place of the recently departed Matthew Knies.
Either way, the future looks bright for the fastest player in the fastest game.