Brimming with confidence – Moberg evolving into offensive threat
By: Caden Fanshaw
Cole Moberg has gone from just your average defenseman in the Western Hockey League to an offensive threat in just over one full season – all thanks to what he says is his confidence.
The 18 year-old defenseman describes himself as an offensive defenseman who likes to move the puck, and jump into the play. He says it all comes together thanks to a good hockey IQ that helps him read the play before it happens.
The North Vancouver native wasn’t lying when he called himself offensive, as of January 14th, 2018 he sits tied for third in goals scored by defensemen in the WHL this season with nine goals. Keep in mind, last season Moberg had just two goals in 68 games played, this season seems to be a whole different story.
That kind of offensive touch, combined with a big improvement in his own end has landed him on the radar for the NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver come June.
Though most 2000-born players were draft eligible last year, Moberg was not. Thanks to a late birthday after the September 15th deadline set by the NHL, the October 17th born Cole Moberg is in his first season of draft eligibility.
Coming off his first season, Moberg knew work needed to be done before the start of the next season for him to take his game to the next level. After a short break to let his body recuperate, the work boots were on, and so was Cole’s desire to improve.
The 6’3, 200 pound frame returned to BC’s Northern Capital a couple weeks earlier than most players to start the season. For good reason of course, it was so that Moberg could work one-on-one with Nick Drazenovic, the Cougars Director of Player Development.
Drazenovic, a former NHL’er, and Cougars Alumni himself was officially hired in February of 2017 where since then he has taken a role that sees him helping develop current roster players, while also working with and spending one-on-one time with players within the organization.
Moberg was never drafted into the WHL, he was listed by the club in the fall of 2015, a year later in 2016 he was then signed by Prince George, after scoring 48 points over 57 games for the North Shore Winter Club Midget AAA hockey team in his 2015-16 season.
Soon thereafter, Moberg was playing in the pre-season for the Cats, followed by his first WHL Game on September 24th, 2016 where he was +2, in a 5-1 win over Victoria.
To bring that kind of offensive presence into the Western Hockey League starts with confidence, Moberg says:
“My confidence just grew from playing a bunch last year to this year and I just found my groove.”
A big part to his success in this particular season has been finding his strengths on the ice.
“Just having the confidence to play my game, not having to worry about trying to do extra stuff, and having to focus extra energy on other roles”
The Cougars are an especially young team this season, with the majority of their roster consisting of players born in the 2000’s, creating a golden opportunity for Moberg to make his mark.
It’s not everyday you get special teams minutes, and it’s surely something earned from Head Coach Richard Matvichuk.
A big part of Matvichuk’s coaching style is video, Moberg says. They watch it everyday in a variety of ways from looking at their own mistakes, to analyzing the next team they’re poised to face-off against.
For trying to pinpoint when Moberg found his confidence, one moment sticks out from the rest.
“In the game in Lethbridge, is really when I found my confidence, getting two goals is what really started it all”
He has no idea if it was a particular thing he did that day, just that it was a coming out-party a long time in the making for a player who always seemed to have something like that hidden away in his back pocket. Moberg’s goal made the CIBC Showdown and later on made WHL Top 10 Plays of the Week, much deserved for a nasty backhand that he roofed over Hurricanes goaltender Reece Klassen.
When asked about how much he likes playing up north, Moberg says he likes everything that’s come his way so far, and is always excited to see what’s next.
In another sense, some might think playing in Prince George might limit your exposure to scouting and some even say it could sabotage your chances of getting to the next level.
As far as the North Van native is concerned, even though scouts might not make the trip up to PG to see the team in person, there’s enough video coverage nowadays to put the exposure conversation to bed, adding it just forces you to play that much harder on the road when you know scouts are in the building.
For the rest of this season, Moberg is driven to push for team success by making the playoffs which Prince George hasn’t done since 2016-17 when the Cougars won their first ever BC Division title in Franchise History.