When it comes to top level defensive recruits, it often seems like the junk throwing, slap check happy, risk taker is a thing of the past. Most of these top level recruits are athletic and tough position guys, who have great feet and excellent size… but every once in a while we get a throwback, and I’m thinking Michael Moriyama fits that mold pretty nicely:
Good stick skills, and lots of slaps and poke checks stick out immediately. Upon deeper inspection, I also like Moriyama’s ability to use his six foot pole effectively to maintain distance, while not allowing the attacking player too much freedom. His checks are timed well, and he can throw a couple of different checks from the same high starting point, which explains why he can put the ball on the carpet so much.
The college game is considerably faster, and Moriyama will obviously need to increase his speed and strength, but his positioning and stick work is really solid. As an LSM on face off wings I could see him giving midfielders nightmares, especially with that high back slap check, but against college attackmen, his coaches may ask him to tone it down a bit. Unless he really develops as an athlete… then there really is no limit to his potential.
Takeaway defenseman: NOT a thing of the past. Who knew?!?!
One thing I do know, is that I don’t want to pick up a GB near this kid. Precision checks, and lots of them would be coming my way.