As one of 16 forwards still in camp with the Nashville Predators, Simon Moser has accomplished a lot just by the mere fact that he is still around with just over a week to go before the start of the 2013-14 NHL season.
Of the 27 players still with the club, Moser is unique in that he is the only one who is not signed to a contract with the Predators.
Undrafted and without a deal, the 24-year-old native of Bern, Switzerland faced a tough road to making the NHL when he agreed to a Professional Tryout Agreement with the Predators, but his play has kept him around thus far.
“It is always hard to see guys leaving,” Moser said. “It is my first time here in North America and I just try to show up and play my physical game.”
The Predators are interested in signing him, but the challenge lies in the structure of the contract he would have to ink his name to in order to play in North America this season.
“I take it day-by-day, step-by-step,” Moser said. “It is an Olympic year, so there are big decisions to make. I will go my way and either way, it is going to be a huge part of my career.
The contract would have to be of the entry-level variety, which means that it would be a two-way NHL/AHL deal, and the salary he would be paid at the AHL level would be drastically different than the one he would receive at the NHL level.
In the offseason, Moser signed a two-year deal with SC Bern of the Swiss National League A (NLA). He could get out of that deal if he was signed in North America though.
Moser admitted to checking the Internet daily to keep track of Bern.
“Today they lost again,” he said. “It is not a good start to the season, but I am following it.”
The Swiss league does not make its salaries public, but it is believed his Swiss salary would be lower than the NHL’s minimum salary, but much more than he would likely make on the AHL portion of a two-way contract.
In Tuesday night’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Moser recorded his first goal of the exhibition season.
Fresh out of the penalty box, Rich Clune streaked after a loose puck and drove in on a partial breakaway on former Predator goaltender Anders Lindback.
Lindback denied Clune, but the rebound went to the right side, where Clune jumped on it and found Moser in the low slot, where he had an easy tip-in to give the Predators the 1-0 lead.
“He’s a big body,” Clune said of Moser. “He goes into the corners. He goes into the traffic areas like that goal. He went to the net; that is an instinct play. Go to the net with your stick down, you are going to get more chances than not. He’s a good kid. He’s got a lot of skill.”
As an assistant coach with Team Canada at the World Championships this summer, Predators head coach Barry Trotz saw a lot of Moser’s play with the strong Swiss squad.
“The one thing about the Swiss players, they are usually not overly big and they are very quick in terms of the rush and that,” Trotz said. “Mos plays a tight-area game. He can play in those tight areas.
“The Swiss are turning into the new Sweden. They were always really good on the rush and had trouble with a little bit of the small-area game. Mos is one of those guys that doesn’t have any problem with the small-area game. That’s his strength. He plays a very mature game. He is doing what I expected so I have a lot of confidence. He is a very reliable, smart hockey player.”