Bruins’ usage of this defenseman has been confusing

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 09: John Moore #27 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at Rogers Place on December 9, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 09: John Moore #27 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at Rogers Place on December 9, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
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Defenseman John Moore hasn’t exactly been a staple in the Boston Bruins lineup this season.

The veteran defenseman has been flip-flopping between the NHL and AHL this season while also dealing with an injury. In total, he’s played four games in Boston and nine in Providence.

It’s clear he isn’t regarded as someone who can contribute to the Bruins’ lineup consistently, otherwise he would have made more appearances than he has.

So why is it that out of all the Bruins skaters that have skated in a game this season, Moore is averaging the fourth-most time on ice per game?

Why is John Moore getting some much ice time yet playing in so few games?

The 31-year-old started off with the team at the beginning of the season as the seventh defenseman. He skated in one game on Oct. 22 against Buffalo then was sent down to the AHL two days later.

He skated in nine games with Providence before going down with an injury. Once he healed, he was recalled up to Boston on Dec. 6 with Jakub Zboril going down with an injury of his own. He proceeded to skate in the Bruins’ last three games against the Canucks, Flames and Golden Knights. On Wednesday, Moore was sent back down to Providence.

On paper, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. The Bruins gave Zboril a shot over Moore, which makes complete sense since Zboril is younger and developing and is in the process of proving he can be an every day NHL defenseman. Moore will bounce up and down and be recalled when Boston needs him, otherwise he can spend time in the AHL helping developing other younger Bruins’ defensive prospects.

But then how is it that Moore, when he is playing up in Boston, is getting so much ice time?

He led all Bruins skaters in TOI against the Golden Knights on Tuesday and he was second behind Charlie McAvoy in the Flames game.

The Oilers and Sabres games, Moore clocked in a much more expected TOI, as he was third among defenseman in the Oilers game and fourth among defensemen in the Sabres game.

Obviously the numbers are a bit skewed since it’s only four games, but it’s head scratching to see Moore deployed as one of the top defensemen in the last two games, just to then see him sent down to the AHL. Moore hasn’t been playing bad by any means, but it’s weird to see him get more time than Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, even Derek Forbort. And Moore played more than Charlie McAvoy against Vegas.

On the season, Moore is averaging 19:27 time on ice per game. Again, I wouldn’t read into it that much since it is just four games, but it’s hard to find a legitimate reason why Moore has averaged more time on the ice than Carlo and Grzelcyk this season. Heck, he’s getting more time than Patrice Bergeron and Taylor Hall, only McAvoy, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are averaging a higher TOI.

Something doesn’t add up and either it’s that Moore should spend more time with Boston or he should get less time on the ice when he does skate in a game. I really think it’s the latter, as most Bruins fans probably will. The defenseman has no points and a +2 rating with three shots on goal, eight blocked shots and six hits in those four games. Is that production really better than what Grzelcyk or Carlo offer?

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The Bruins certainly have bigger fish to fry than Moore’s utilization. I don’t seem him as any more than an extra defenseman, filling in every now and then or when injuries occur. But it still raised some eyebrows seeing Moore have the most ice time on Tuesday, then demoted on Wednesday.